The Importance of Being "Erika Dreifus"

This is especially for those practicing writers who have names that inspire some creative spellings–or misspellings. (Hint: “Erika Dreifus” is one such name.)

I don’t have a middle name (my mother, whose parents also chose not to bestow a middle name on her, married at age 20 and began using her maiden name as her middle name; Mom figured her daughters would behave similarly). Plus, as my mother has always insisted, “We thought your first name was so beautiful, you didn’t need a middle name.”

And it’s probably just as well, because I have my hands full with the two names I do have. It’s not enough for me to check on my bylines/publications by Googling “Erika Dreifus.” I have to try “Erica Dreifuss,” “Ericka Dreyfuss,” and a panoply of other possibilities. When I tried one of those “options” recently, I found a book review ascribed to me that I didn’t write. I posted a comment at that site (with the correct spelling of my name included).

So here’s a friendly suggestion for those practicing writers in similar situations: Remember that you may have more bylines (or Internet citations) than you’ve counted on, depending on how carefully others attend to your “real” name.

As for the rest of you, you lucky souls named “John Smith” or “Jane Jones,” don’t think this post lacks any relevance for you. If you’re a writer, you have a responsibility to spell other people’s names correctly. Editors’ names, in particular. Not convinced? Maybe Brian Klems or Judith Kallos will persuade you.

3 thoughts on “The Importance of Being "Erika Dreifus"

  1. Anonymous says:

    erm, maybe there is someone out there named “erica dreifuss” or whatever who wrote that review?

  2. Erika Dreifus says:

    Well, anonymous, that review was ascribed to me along with a co-author, along with a statement that it had appeared in a particular magazine–one the other reviewer and I both review for frequently. I know I didn’t write a review of that book for that magazine, and since I’m a subscriber, I also know there’s no one else reviewing for the magazine with a variant of my name.

    In fact, I did eventually see a review of that book–authored solely by the other named reviewer in the cited magazine–several months after the posting appeared. So there is definitely some mystery here.

    Thanks for your post, anyway.

  3. Erika Dreifus says:

    Ouch! Looking back on this exchange five years later, I’m mortified by my tone. Belated apologies to “anonymous”.

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