View Full Version : psuedonyms (Moved from Novels to the Roundtable)

09-17-2008, 05:51 AM
Question: How reliable are they for long term anonymity?

I have a great idea for book #4, but it's way too hot in subject matter/topic/language for my current identity.

Any knowledge on this subject would be helpful.

If I wrote this thing and my true identity got out, I'd be... well... singing soprano for the rest of my days.



09-17-2008, 05:58 AM
MHO: if someone really wants to find out they probably can.

09-17-2008, 06:07 AM
Well, we all know Samuel Clemens was Mark Twain, that Richard Bachman was Stephen King, and that J.D. Robb was/is Nora Roberts.

Most pen names do get "found out", but some can take a long time to be discovered.

09-17-2008, 07:05 AM
And... if one were to write under a pseudonym and is outed, the result might be worse than if he'd just gone with his own name from the start.

As the king would say, "It's a puzzlement."

09-17-2008, 08:35 AM
Well, that depends. I write in a wide variety of genres, so I'm using a wide variety of pen names, but that's a business decision, so that my fantasy series doesn't get shelved next to my mystery series, and so on. I'm not worried about being found out, so to speak, I just want to be sure that I get shelved correctly and that someone looking for a mystery doesn't go, "Oh, but she writes fantasy, so this won't do for me." And once found out, I doubt I would have to stop writing that series, or whatever. Nora Roberts still writes under J.D. Robb, after all.

Your situation sounds very different. I would say that your risk only matters if your other books do well and this very different one doesn't. If you get outed for writing a great, hugely popular book, I'd wager less people will mind about it. Success does tend to temper reactions.

09-17-2008, 12:13 PM
I've never seen the point in a free society, as long as the material is legal. I'm about to step into a new genre for me, if people don't like it... they don't have to read it. Nor do they have to speak to me. It's their choice. :Shrug:

09-17-2008, 05:25 PM
Consider, though, that most "outing" of pen names happens on purpose, once a writer gets famous, when publishers want to cash in on the writer's fame to promote books written under another name. On the other hand, Joe Klein successfully denied for some time that he was the anonymous author of Primary Colors, before someone intimately connected with the Clinton campaign correctly figured out who had written the book. (By comparing writing styles between the book and Joe Klein's known work.)

09-17-2008, 05:41 PM
I see pen names as paper screens not concrete walls. The point is not to hide, but to brand.