Launching the Amazon Adventure

So I’ve established my “author’s page” on Amazon. The URL is supposedly, but when you enter that your address line magically changes to the strange set of characters that is the back-end URL: So, though it gives you a more plain-English URL, it doesn’t save a lot of space. If you wanted something shorter and simpler to put on a business card, you could easily generate one through or some such. Strange.

I hate this kind of techie thing. Such a time suck!! And frustrating. Beyond frustrating.

The first frustration has already cropped up. I have a name that I deeply dislike: Millicent V. Hay. Because I was endlessly bullied and abused as a child, and because one aspect of the bullying had to do with the weird name, just the sound of the name “Millicent” makes my skin crawl.

But when I published my first book, which was a historical biography, it had to come out under my full legal name, because there was a good chance I would use the publication to try to get an academic job. And of course, I did not want to have to explain to hiring committee after hiring committee after hiring committee that “Vicky” is “Millicent.”

Later, I started a C-corporation, a finder’s agency that farmed out work to established writers, photographers, illustrators, and graphic designers. My business partner was an old-line PR guy and marketing agent. He thought “Vicky” sounded way too informal — “infantile,” I believe, was his term. He suggested identifying myself as “Victoria.” So, henceforth “Victoria” it was, and so it stayed, even after I sold the business to him.

Well, so I have three books other than the do-it-yourself Slave Labor: The Essential Feature, published by Columbia University Press under the name Vicky Hay; Math Magic, cowritten with Scott Flansburg and published by William Morrow under the name Victoria Hay, Ph.D., and The Life of Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester, published by Folger Shakespeare Library under the name Millicent V. Hay.

So. That’s all well and good. On your author’s page, you can publish links with colorful widgets to all your books as they appear at

But. Well. No, you can’t if you used the various permutations of your legal name as bylines. When you go to claim a book with a slightly different byline, you’re told “this doesn’t appear to be you.”

Ask customer service, and you learn that to bring those books into your author’s page, you have to state that the variants of your name are NOT your name but are “pen names.” A-N-N-D when you do that it creates a different author’s page for each not-a-pen name.

I don’t want separate author’s pages for each of my books. I want all my books to appear on MY page, under the name I presently use to do business.

A-N-N-D…it gets worse! I intend to publish my first novel, which is ready to go except for the final e-book formatting, under an actual pen-name: Estabanya Marcanda do Tilár. But Amazon limits the number of “author’s pages” you can have to three. If I’m made to call the two variants of my real name “pseudonyms,” then I can’t publish Fire-Rider under the pen-name I invented!

And that pen-name is part of the entire conceit behind the book. If I have to take the pen-name off the cover and title page, that will wreck the whole crazy premise I cooked up!

Presently I’m trying to explain this to their customer service people. But experience with these kinds of bureaucratic structures promises that I won’t get far with it. So I guess I just won’t be able to have my other books show on the Amazon Author’s Page.

It’s not like that will bring an end to the world as we know it.

It’s just annoying.