Last summer I started calling myself André. That’s now both my pen name and my nickname in real life. I usually don’t use a last name, but in places where one is required I use André Sólo, which just means “only Andre.”
This is my permanent name now and I’m requesting that friends, readers and family use André going forward.
The name change has been surprisingly difficult. Last time I switched sobriquets was to “Drew” in 2010 or so. People really liked the switch, probably because it’s so informal compared to “Andrew,” my previous preference. (Oddly, I myself never liked Drew very much, as catchy as it is.)
But what really made that name easy was that I switched just as I transitioned to a new job. My new coworkers didn’t know me any other way, so the new name caught on fast. The same has not been true this time around.
The difference is that I’ve built a small amount of fame under my old name, and it’s not easy to shift that momentum to André. Of course, it would have been a lot smarter to make this switch before publishing Lúnasa Days last year, but I was advised against that.
To me, the name André is immensely meaningful. It’s a name that stands for everything I believe in, while emphasizing my pan-American dreams. It may not be what it says on my birth certificate, but it’s for more than just book covers: it’s my stage name, and I live it every day. I use it in person as well as on all my creative work.
So, although I know it’s hard to remember, I hope you’ll all indulge me by using André.
(And don’t worry, I’m not a stickler for the accent mark.)
I’ve already picked up nicknames. Aside from André Sólo, my Mexican friends have now dubbed me simply El André, and radio host Greg Berg took me up on my original naming invitation, consistently calling me André del Mundo. I like both of these, and I welcome other variations.
Of course, I won’t take offense if someone honestly forgets, but I really do only consider André to be my name. And I appreciate it every time someone remembers.
My book Lúnasa Days is available on Kindle and in paperback. Get your copy here.