Monday, July 4, 2011


“Egoboogling, or The Best Way For an Author to Ditch Writing/Revision”

I was egoboogling this past Thursday and…

You don’t know what that is? You should, since authors are particularly susceptible to the disease. When hungry for fame currently not generated by my books, I seek “ego boost” elsewhere. And in the 21st century, that ego boost comes from searches for my name or my book titles on Google. (Also Wikipedia, Amazon book reviews, Goodreads, The Library Thing, and various social networks.) Ego boost + Google = Egoboogle.

Tell me you haven’t done this! Not briefly in passing, before or after a legitimate Google search? Not at least been tempted? ...Thought so.

Last Wednesday a writer friend—who had never mentioned succumbing to the disease—was having trouble egoboogling. She asked for ideas. Her search rate efficiency was in the cellar, because her last name tends to bring up false positives regarding a TV show. I gave her a few pointers in the efficient use of Google’s Advanced Search parameters and sent her off as happy as a clam. As misplaced karmic reward for my kind deed, I was immediately bitten by the faunching for new egoboogle. I gave in the following day.

When you egoboogle--unless you were blessed with a distinctive moniker like “Demaris Z. Khalumphek”, author of “Zotz”—your search will bring up lots of false positives just as it did for my friend. Having to wade through ten screens for just one mention of your name or the title of your latest book can be seriously egoflating—the opposite of egoboogling. We don’t need this. Bad reviews, no one showing up at our bookstore signings, or a form letter rejection to a query letter produce more than sufficient egoflating. A carefully refined Google Advanced Search can eliminate at least some of these irrelevant search responses.

But sometimes it’s more fun—and more of a Time Well taking you away from actual writing—if you just put in your name and see what turns up. Since I wasn’t doing anything important anyway—just revising my latest novel*—I opened up two screens at Google Advanced Search and went at it.

(Why two screens? Well, with one I set up my usual egoboogle. I put in my name plus detailed parameters for Google’s software to focus on or to ignore. Since I didn’t have a good idea for this weekend’s YAAYNHO blog entry, with the other open screen, I put in a simple search for just my name, only limiting the search to this past year.)

A name as semi-common as Sherry Thompson brings up all sorts of alternative people—just ripe for becoming fictional characters. (See? I was working!)

Searching on Google using just "Sherry Thompson", I found many familiar alter-egos.

For instance, I'm a:

Librarian at Flower Mound High School. ( I was a librarian, but not there. And who calls a school “Flower Mound”? I pity the members of the football team.)

Communications and Program Manager. In Omaha. (I had a great-uncle who lived there.)

Staff of the FBC Student Ministry…


Owner of the website “Hooked on Stamping”. (I must be very conflicted. I never have seen the point of buying an expensive stamp and a stamp pad, so I can make the same design hundreds of times.)

Wow! Here’s a new one. Bill R. Thompson (born 2 April 1949) is a former Australian rules footballer who played in the Victorian Football League (VFL) during the late 1960s. Nicknamed 'Sherry', Thompson spent three seasons playing with Essendon…

I’ve run into alternate world Sherry Thompsons who are a deputy sheriff in the Midwest who is often giving statements to the press, and a lesser-known prosecutor. These ladies should get to know each other! I once was an executive for a cosmetic company but she disappeared. Hopefully not literally! I assume she retired or changed professions. Evidently, I’m also a champion female body-builder. Looking in the mirror does not confirm this. J Looking at her photos makes me kind of glad.

I used to serve as a designer, and made the clothing for “Blossom”. I’m still memorable. How many years ago was that show on, and that Sherry Thompson still heavily populates Google. Speaking of blossoms, I’m involved with the White Charity Blossom of Nebraska which supports nonprofits. When it comes to artsy Sherry Thompsons, I drew the illustrations for “Our Parade”, “What is Love?” and “Spring”.

(Seriously, Amazon conflates my books with hers, but Goodreads is only fooled by the “Spring” title.)

By the Way, try Google Images, and you’ll find I’m a master of disguise!

Also according to Google, I’ve died at least once, have mourned the death of someone in the family a couple of times—usually with my husband who keeps changing his last name—and on a happier note have been married several times. I, uh, don’t remember any Google references to divorces. Not to worry. I probably have this multi-marital oversight well in hand, since I’m a California divorce lawyer.

As both an animal health technologist and a family practitioner, I hope I practice in separate offices. Appraiser, freelance designer, Texas yoga instructor, and I work for Kahlo Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge. I’m also part of the Firefighter Nation.

A member of Bayou City Women Bikers What kind of bikers are these? Is there any connection between my biker membership and the time I was booked into the Okaloosa county jail?

I’m a realtor, and a mother with a crazy YouTube that you can screen so I can prove it. I resigned from the District Office Staff somewhere in Australia—probably because the commute to all my other jobs were just killing me. Which explains the obituary notice.

*My editor never reads my entries here—except today.

(Oh, yes. My targeted egoboogle search last Thursday turned up not one new mention of the real me. Whoever she is.)


  1. Not another Caprice Hokstad on the planet that I know of. If I ever meet any old friend who says they tried to look me up but couldn't find me? I KNOW they must be lying or have never used a search engine, because it is impossible to type in my name and NOT find me. I get fifteen pages of stuff I put out there: my web pages, my blog, my social networks, my author hangout sites, my activity on Shelfari and Goodreads, blog interviews I have answered (usually because my publisher thinks it's a good idea), stuff like this, where I commented on someone else's blog, etc.

    But I never found Googling myself that much fun. Seriously, I have the perfect search parameters, but it does nothing for my ego to find all the tons of blathering out there, none of which seems to produce any "results", like increased sales.

  2. Love. It. This is hilarious, Sherry! So many alter-egos.....

    I'm in there with Caprice, though. Seems I'm the singular Kat Heckenbach on the planet--at least the only one listed anywhere online.

    Kinda funny story--there is a Heckenbach town and a Heckenbach riv--um, creek :P--in Germany. Grace Bridges, my used-to-live-in-Germany Kiwi friend, was trying to help me find some stuff about the town on Google...and everything kept turning up ME. How's that for egoboogling? Finding out you're more web-present than a whole town! Heehee.....

    Anyway, thanks, Sherry! Awesome post!

  3. I loved this post. I don't have enough work in the public domain to show up amongst the wheat but I still peek every once and a while - mostly just to make sure there's nothing embarrassing out there I should know about.

    My alter-egos include a VP of marketing research, a former baseball player, and a PhD on staff at Washington University hospital. And one gentlemen who had my exact name (first middle last) - and even went by my normal abridged moniker - was a newspaper reporter, author and professor in Baton Rouge, LA. Unfortunately he passed away in 2007 so I can't Google his email address and get some pointers on jump-starting my writing career.

    Alas, even after quickly browsing 25 Google pages of search results, my lone published work did not show up. But the truth is out there...I've seen it.


  4. I've done this many times. I even have alerts set for all my books and my name, so I don't miss a thing. And my by-line is unique enough I don't get much alternate notes.

    But I usually am interested in finding out if there are any reviews of my stuff out there that I've missed. As a matter of fact, I've not received many alerts lately. Either something's wrong with my Google alerts, or I've become very forgotten.

    Good post, Sherry. :)

  5. Do this on occasion especially when I'm looking for old reviews and things like that. Most of the time I think about doing it but the story of the moment takes me away from this activity.

  6. LOL! Thanks for the laugh. It is fun to see how many of you there is and what the others are like.

  7. Fun post, Sherry! Of course now I tried it myself. If you search for my first and last name with quotes, it appears I'm pretty much the only one with my name out there -- at least that the internet is aware of! I found mentions of my involvement with our one church program, a few old things from college, a facebook page... and one piece of writing I did in college that I keep forgetting is out there!

    Thanks for the post!

  8. I found something scary(or my sister did) when we Goggled my name. Baccellia is a very unique last name and less than 100 households in the US have it.

    Well so we thought.

    Sister freaked out and emailed me that there was another Kim Baccellia on FB. This girl is African American, gorgeous, and no, not me.

    Come to find out her father in law is my grandfather's brother. Also found some Baccellias in Arizona that let's just say could be poster people for what NOT to do.

    And I thought I was unique.

    Kim Baccellia

  9. Hi, Caprice!
    You are fortunate to have such a unique name especially when it comes to friends & potential readers looking for you.

    However I wouldn't assume that anyone who can't find you w/ Google either never tried or is lying. The author I mentioned in this entry is dyslexic as is her daughter. It can be "fun" trying to decipher words in their emails. If others like them key in your name wrong, they might not find you!

    You wrote in part: But I never found Googling myself that much does nothing for my ego to find all the tons of blathering out there, none of which seems to produce any "results", like increased sales.

    Oh, I admit that just finding my name or book titles on Google does nothing for sales! However I get frustrated because I sell so few of books & can't get around to promote in order to sell more. Egoboogling helps me feel a little less depressed & frustrated as an author--on occasions when I find a new entry.

    This frustration is also one of the reasons that I joined the blogging team here at "Young Adult Authors You've Never Heard Of." I'm in a place where I'm not the only one.

  10. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Kat!

    Yes, you're virtually as unique as Caprice, so the Google alter-ego situation is different for you!
    How about that! More famous than a whole town and river! Pretty cool!

    Speaking of people with unusual handles, have you ever heard of Joe Straczynski, the creator of "Babylon 5", author of "Othersyde" and "Midnight Nation", etc? He said once in a presentation that if you found anyone named "Straczynski" you could safely take it that they were a relative of his, there's so few of that name floating around.

  11. Hi, Xanthorpe!
    My, you do have some classy alter-egos. As far as your writing credit, have you searched for it? I'm sure it will come up! Maybe you need to look under the title...

    It's a terrific story! Have you ever considered offering this on Amazon as a Kindle short?

  12. Hi, Rick! "I can see where the "R L" would help!

    I have a Google alert set up for my name too.
    It rarely brings in anything related to me.
    I used to have similar alerts for "Seabird" and "Earthbow", however, they dragged in mostly studies of actual seabirds and/or advertised sales for a boat. Or with Earthbow, references to Native American religion and various semi-occult traditions, at "Torrent" which I suspect is a copyright-defying site. All pretty far afield.

  13. JL, you're a smart lady for succumbing so rarely! Keep on writing, oh focused one!

  14. Hi, Beverly!
    Yes, I get a kick out of it, especially when I come up with somebody new. It's at moments like that, that I'm glad I don't have an extremely common name swamping the search engine, but rather a semi-common name that lends itself to fun & also to efficient egoboogling.

    On the other hand and much more serious--in my guise as an author--it must be pleasant to cut right to the chase by being a Caprice or Kat.

  15. Hi, Brandon!
    You sound like Xanthorpe, in forgetting that you have writing posted on the web. Gotta tell ya, I'd never forget that. :)

    If you truly want to take time to look for alter-egos, may I suggest using just your very unique last name alone. You may only get results from your family--the way Joe Straczynski claims. On the other hand, you might find out you or someone in your family is a tennis pro from the 30's or a former prime minister of Italy.

  16. Yeah, Kim, I totally get it! There are times when it would be less unsettling to think that you're unique. Especially since one of these people is actually related? Did I get that straight?

    Speaking of which:
    I don't know if you've ever heard of Charles Williams. He was the lesser-known member of Oxford's "Inklings", like C.S.Lewis, & J.R.R. Tolkien.
    He died in the mid-1940's which may be just as well since he never had to deal with alter-egos on the web. That way, he never knew that he has a very busy namesake here in the U.S. with an extended criminal career. I search for the British Charles Williams on a semi-regular basis, because he's a favorite author. It's very frustrating to find new results that are only for the jail-bird.

  17. Since I have made a couple of movies as well as a novel I get a decent amount of hits when I Egoboogle. But I once found something that brought me right down to Earth again. My novel MILKY WAY MARMALADE has received many rave reviews and I loved finding new ones that raved about how witty and hilarious my book is. However, on one blog a woman summed by pride and joy up like this "IT SUCKED LIKE A HOOVER".

    SO much for EgoBoogling!

    : )