There have been a few funny side-effects of the indie book revolution enabled by Amazon – that’s the thang where the masses get to bypass the legacy gatekeepers inside the big four publishers and publish directly to the world (either as e-books, or print-on-demand for dead tree books).

First off, and most obviously, there’s been a Cambrian explosion of books and authors in the market. This had led to hyper-evolutionary competition of a sort not hitherto seen … you must have noticed all those scifi book adverts overrunning Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, right?

But there’s been other more amusing side-effects, too.

If you have an idea for a brilliant book title in January – you check the Zon and nobody else has thought of it – by December when you publish, it’s odds-on that some other $%^&&*er has claimed your idea. You’ll probably also find your old book titles and series names being claim-jumped by others who either didn’t bother checking for ‘prior art’ first, or did, and thought sod it, that’ll just get me more traffic.

When I was a publisher at Pearson there were five other Stephen Hunts in the company’s in-house phone book, which always made taking external phone calls a strange game of random dice rolling. Now, Amazon’s massively extended indie book catalogue suffers from much the same effect.

There’s been a couple of Steven/Stephen Hunts who have come and gone as scifi authors on Amazon … nothing to do with me. I’m not going to make you change your name. I presume they got tired of fans emailing them asking when’s the next Jackelian novel coming out, before adopting weird pseudonyms almost guaranteed to be unique. Jogol Bundleberry, or something.

This happened to a Stephen Hunt who had to change his name to the outlandish Adrian Tchaikovsky so as not to clash with me. He’s done rather well, since. That’s a joke, BTW.

There’s even now a S.A. Hunt – Samara Adam Hunt – published by Tor. The same Tor that publishes S.A. Hunt – Stephen Alexander Hunt … aka me.

It makes you wonder if there’s an indie author out there called Philip Kane Dick or Arthur Colin Clarke who is wondering what the heck to do when it comes to hitting the ‘publish’ button? They’re bound to be out there! Hah. Well, this tickles me, anyway.

If your name does happen to be John Kerry Rowling, I’d suggest the pseudonym route for you. J.K. has lawyers who are paid too much to go into fits of laughter like yours truly.

Catch you soon.


I am an author of various fantasy, science fiction, crime and other genre books from Gollancz, Hachette and HarperCollins. Some day I hope to grow up and be an astronaut. Exploring Mars would be nice.

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