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Transatlantic
09-18-2012, 04:44 PM
Have you been tracked down and bothered by someone (previous acquaintance or stranger) -- in real life or online -- as a result of publishing under your own name?

Or do you use a pseudonym to avoid this happening?

I'm planning to switch to a pseudonym to avoid attracting the attention of people I don't want any more contact with, in case I end up getting any publicity someday. :) I'm interested in people's experiences with maintaining privacy in such situations.

WeaselFire
09-18-2012, 05:33 PM
Never an issue with me. Though I'm not afraid of anyone in my past either. Besides, my fans are nice. Both of them. :)

Jeff

MrsBrommers
09-18-2012, 05:43 PM
I use a pseudonym, partially for privacy but mostly because my actual surname is quite forgettable and so common you can't really Google it. The people who I wouldn't want to find me already can't do so because of my actual name.

Here's something to consider: when you are published there is a copyright page in the front of the book. Even for writers who use pseudonyms, sometimes that copyright is under your actual name. It seems to vary among publishers which name they will put it under.

shaldna
09-18-2012, 06:52 PM
I'm planning to switch to a pseudonym to avoid attracting the attention of people I don't want any more contact with, in case I end up getting any publicity someday. :) I'm interested in people's experiences with maintaining privacy in such situations.

Folks have different reasons for choosing a pseudonoym and all of them are valid reasons.

However, in this day and age, with the availability and ease of sourcing information, if someone really wants to find you that badly, they will.

jjdebenedictis
09-18-2012, 08:24 PM
However, in this day and age, with the availability and ease of sourcing information, if someone really wants to find you that badly, they will.The pseudonym might keep them from having you at the top of their mind, however.

If a writer has a stalker in their past, they have to worry about that person tracking them down no matter what steps the writer takes to hide themselves.

However, if the writer just has an ex-neighbour who was a mooch and laboured under the delusion that they and the writer were the best of buddies, then using a pseudonym might be enough.

The mooch probably isn't actively hunting for the writer, but they might make the effort to get in touch again if they see the writer's name on a book in the bookstore.

heza
09-18-2012, 08:34 PM
The mooch probably isn't actively hunting for the writer, but they might make the effort to get in touch again if they see the writer's name on a book in the bookstore.

This is the primary reason I think about using a penname. I have an ex who... makes a nuisance of himself with ex-girlfriends. I feel like I've finally fallen off his radar, but if I'm ever successful enough to be visible, he'll likely pop back up to see if he can get anything out of it. But that won't matter if I end up using my married name.

The second reason is that my name is difficult to pronounce and spell (despite having only six letters and being fairly phonetic).

quicklime
09-18-2012, 08:52 PM
"moochers" and other family and friends.....that's exactly why I intend to as well. In fact, a neighbor was browsing my bookshelf and saw "On Writing Horror" in there and said "Are you planning to write a book?" I sort of fumbled that one and said I liked to read essays...

dangerousbill
09-18-2012, 09:06 PM
Have you been tracked down and bothered by someone (previous acquaintance or stranger) -- in real life or online -- as a result of publishing under your own name?


My friends Google me, just as I Google my friends. Employers will Google you, too. Since I write and publish erotica, and don't want some of my family and professional contacts to know it, I hide behind two pseudonyms. I never use them together in one document, nor in the same document with my real name.

Every now and then, I Google myself to make sure my security is intact.

Filigree
09-18-2012, 10:30 PM
I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm not working with kids, I'm not in a local PTA, and I will never again knowingly work for employers whose religious beliefs would make them balk at my fiction. I keep my different pen names separate more for market clarity than privacy.

Given the market focus on erotica right now, if anyone 'outed' me in my local community I might just grin - then own a tenuous connection with E. L. James and the other erotica flavors of the month. I'm already an artist. Everyone knows we're crazy to begin with.

There are one or two folks who might surface if I ever won a lottery (or had the publishing equivalent), but I'll deal with them then.

Theundergroundauthor
09-18-2012, 10:38 PM
Nah. Bring it on! You're not really famous til you have your own bona fide stalker!!

FloridianWriter
09-18-2012, 10:54 PM
I have a pseudonym only because I live in a small town and anytime I got involved in something or the few times I won something people would ask the most obnoxious questions. I mostly just want to avoid that.

ironmikezero
09-19-2012, 12:38 AM
I've had it happen (because I didn't use a pen name) related to some non-fiction material (training texts, seminar syllabi, presentations, etc.) intended for a select/restricted clientele.

It was work related and more of an unwelcome annoyance rather than a real problem. Reinforcing the cautionary warning about the confidentiality of the material at the outset seems to have significantly ameliorated the problem.

For works of fiction, especially those based on or inspired by actual events, I've determined a pen name is the best way to go - at least for me.

Old Hack
09-19-2012, 01:00 AM
I've had a bona fide stalker, and I'm not remotely famous.

And pseudonyms won't help protect your privacy at all: they're far too flimsy to do that, I'm afraid.

Captcha
09-19-2012, 02:56 AM
I've had a bona fide stalker, and I'm not remotely famous.

And pseudonyms won't help protect your privacy at all: they're far too flimsy to do that, I'm afraid.

I disagree that pseudonyms won't help AT ALL. I agree that they can be unraveled by someone who is dedicated to the quest, but they certainly help protect your privacy from casual or accidental breaches.

I have a dozen books on the market and there are only four people in my life who know about my hobby. If I weren't using a pseudonym, the number would surely be higher, if from nothing other than casual google searches of my name and then putting two and two together. So, yeah, the pseudonym's given me some protection.

dangerousbill
09-19-2012, 10:08 AM
My friends Google me, just as I Google my friends.


I recall an event where a member of another forum published erotica under her own name. A righteous born-again at her workplace found out and outed her in front of her coworkers and her boss. She was forced to give up writing erotica or lose her job.

Transatlantic
09-19-2012, 02:41 PM
Here's something to consider: when you are published there is a copyright page in the front of the book. Even for writers who use pseudonyms, sometimes that copyright is under your actual name. It seems to vary among publishers which name they will put it under.

Gah! Surely if you were adamant you didn't want your real name there, they'd let you use the pseudonym? Anyone know for sure?



The mooch probably isn't actively hunting for the writer, but they might make the effort to get in touch again if they see the writer's name on a book in the bookstore.

Yes, this is what I worry about. Personality-wise, the people I'm thinking of fall somewhere between mooch and stalker. I don't want them getting interested in me again plus knowing where I live via finding things in a Google search.



I have a dozen books on the market and there are only four people in my life who know about my hobby. If I weren't using a pseudonym, the number would surely be higher, if from nothing other than casual google searches of my name and then putting two and two together. So, yeah, the pseudonym's given me some protection.


I recall an event where a member of another forum published erotica under her own name. A righteous born-again at her workplace found out and outed her in front of her coworkers and her boss. She was forced to give up writing erotica or lose her job.

Gah! Well, fortunately I don't think that sort of thing will be a problem for me because of the circles I move in and the nature of what I'm writing.

But yes, it's all about those Google searches. If certain people see that I'm doing something visible (and maybe have industry connections, or cash, or just deserve their jealousy and revenge -- who knows what goes through crazy people's minds?) and at the same time notice that I've moved to a place that's interesting to them, it could motivate them to try to contact me or who knows what. I don't want that.

And on the incredibly off-off-off chance that your books were more successful than you expected, to the point that you'd be hearing from random past acquaintances out of the woodwork, plus acquiring crazy stalkerish fans, it would then be too late if you hadn't used a pseudonym from the start. (I admit I secretly entertain this tiny sliver of a hair of possibility. :) Because who knows? If I've learned one thing in life, it's that it isn't predictable.)

I'm interested to hear about more people's experiences in this area.

T J Deen
10-11-2012, 03:43 AM
Wow, i'm so glad i found this topic. I have been considering a pseudonym for some time because I work with very dangerous criminals for a living and the job has good days and then there are some very violent days.

I just don't ever want anything being traced back to my wife or children.

granted, most criminal are very dumb, but that doesn't mean they don't have friends or associates that aren't.

is this a valid enough reason for an agent/publisher to work with you on using a pseudonym?

jjdebenedictis
10-11-2012, 04:06 AM
is this a valid enough reason for an agent/publisher to work with you on using a pseudonym?Any reason is a valid reason. It's your career, not the agent or publisher's.

And to them, it makes no difference because the readers just want a name to remember you by. You can build your reputation under your own name or a made-up name; it won't change anyone's profit margins.

Old Hack
10-11-2012, 10:18 AM
A pseudonym isn't much protection. Anyone who really wants to find you and your real name will be able to do so without too much trouble. And if you're already working with dangerous criminals, who presumably know your name, how will using a pseudonym for your writing prevent them from knowing who you are?

shaldna
10-11-2012, 12:59 PM
A pseudonym isn't much protection. Anyone who really wants to find you and your real name will be able to do so without too much trouble. And if you're already working with dangerous criminals, who presumably know your name, how will using a pseudonym for your writing prevent them from knowing who you are?

This was sort of my thought on it.

T J Deen
10-11-2012, 05:57 PM
A pseudonym isn't much protection. Anyone who really wants to find you and your real name will be able to do so without too much trouble. And if you're already working with dangerous criminals, who presumably know your name, how will using a pseudonym for your writing prevent them from knowing who you are?

They only know my last name as it is printed on the Name plate below my shield. Many of them can't even pronounce it and just refer to me as 'Officer T'. Then there are others who take the time to pronounce it and ask me if they're saying it right and whether they are or not i always say something like 'you got it' or 'sure'. The latter is rare but every now and again you find a career criminal who actually finished high school and may have some college.

I'm not sure i understand your question about how it will prevent them from knowing who i am. Are you referring to the part of the business where a publisher tries to market an author instead of the story? If so i don't know how to approach that yet. But i just have a general assuption that a pseudonym could prevent the bulk of the malfactors from googling my name and finding links to trademarks and copyrights registered in my real name, no? Or am i still a long way off from understanting how this works?

Susan Littlefield
10-11-2012, 06:15 PM
I recall an event where a member of another forum published erotica under her own name. A righteous born-again at her workplace found out and outed her in front of her coworkers and her boss. She was forced to give up writing erotica or lose her job.

What kind of job did she have?

veinglory
10-11-2012, 06:17 PM
Pen names also help with marketing as Googling won't bring up you swim team medal and blog about petunias etc, just your books.

WeaselFire
10-11-2012, 06:57 PM
There are a lot of reasons to use pseudonyms. While they may not be the greatest at hiding your identity, they provide an alternate designator for the particular book(s) you're writing. But that's really about all they do.

Jeff

Old Hack
10-11-2012, 07:27 PM
T J Deen, what I'm referring to is that the people who you work with already know your real name, and that real name is going to be far more useful for them if they want to find out where you live and so on. How will using a pseudonym when and if you are ever published stop them doing this when they're already well aware of what your real name is?

T J Deen
10-11-2012, 07:47 PM
T J Deen, what I'm referring to is that the people who you work with already know your real name, and that real name is going to be far more useful for them if they want to find out where you live and so on. How will using a pseudonym when and if you are ever published stop them doing this when they're already well aware of what your real name is?

forgive me but i'm confused. when you say people i work with are you referring to co workers or the criminals? because the criminals don't know my whole name, just my last name.

Old Hack
10-11-2012, 07:59 PM
The criminals.

And if you think that they won't know your first name, you're almost certainly wrong.

And how writing under a pseudonym is going to stop any of them from finding where you live if they're determined to do so, I don't know. They know you, and your name, already. That's all they need. Your potential publications have nothing to do with this.

T J Deen
10-11-2012, 08:03 PM
The criminals.

And if you think that they won't know your first name, you're almost certainly wrong.

And how writing under a pseudonym is going to stop any of them from finding where you live if they're determined to do so, I don't know. They know you, and your name, already. That's all they need. Your potential publications have nothing to do with this.


okay, thanks for clearing that up.

Phaeal
10-11-2012, 09:23 PM
I should only get famous/infamous enough for people from my past to notice I've written books.

And if I'm that famous/infamous, I can hire a very big bodyguard. ;)

But if you want to write under a pseudonym, go for it. As others have said, this should filter out the casual observers.

dangerousbill
10-20-2012, 03:42 AM
A pseudonym isn't much protection. Anyone who really wants to find you and your real name will be able to do so without too much trouble. And if you're already working with dangerous criminals, who presumably know your name, how will using a pseudonym for your writing prevent them from knowing who you are?

First, the criminals would have to be aware of his writing. If they don't know there's anything to find, why will they look for it?

Secondly, they'd have to connect his real last name with his pseudonym. A little caution can minimize this, eg, don't put real and fake names in the same document, and don't advertise the fact that you're using a pseudonym at all.

Thirdly, having obtained the information, they'd have to be able to do something with it, blackmail, whatever.

Surely, a determined enough person, criminal or no, could penetrate the pseudonym barrier. But they'd have to know the pseudonym exists and be sufficiently motivated to track it down.

CQuinlan
10-20-2012, 04:44 AM
I should only get famous/infamous enough for people from my past to notice I've written books.

And if I'm that famous/infamous, I can hire a very big bodyguard. ;)

But if you want to write under a pseudonym, go for it. As others have said, this should filter out the casual observers.

You don't have to be famous. Just super lucky.
Or have a partner with an overly attached ex. :(
Or a thousand other reasons, most of which have more to do with the stalker than the stalkee. (Stalkee, is that right?)



I think pseudonyms are useful though if you want to write in different genres or if you want to be a little separated from your writing.

Arpeggio
04-26-2013, 10:46 PM
If you got caught as the person behind a pen name, couldn't you just say "It wasn't me, I'm the publisher"...?

Filigree
04-26-2013, 11:03 PM
That would be a falsehood, unless you are actually a self-publisher.

dangerousbill
04-26-2013, 11:42 PM
I'm planning to switch to a pseudonym to avoid attracting the attention of people I don't want any more contact with, in case I end up getting any publicity someday. :) I'm interested in people's experiences with maintaining privacy in such situations.

Some collected experiences:

http://www.erotica-readers.com/ERA/Archive12/WG-The_Art_and_Science_of_Pseudonyms.htm

BetteDavis
04-27-2013, 02:26 AM
First, the criminals would have to be aware of his writing. If they don't know there's anything to find, why will they look for it?

Secondly, they'd have to connect his real last name with his pseudonym. A little caution can minimize this, eg, don't put real and fake names in the same document, and don't advertise the fact that you're using a pseudonym at all.

Thirdly, having obtained the information, they'd have to be able to do something with it, blackmail, whatever.

Surely, a determined enough person, criminal or no, could penetrate the pseudonym barrier. But they'd have to know the pseudonym exists and be sufficiently motivated to track it down.

That's how I understood it.I was wondering TJ Deen was your concern also to do with using details from your work in your fiction?

Jamesaritchie
04-27-2013, 05:32 PM
And pseudonyms won't help protect your privacy at all: they're far too flimsy to do that, I'm afraid.

Not if you use them right. I've written under several pseudonyms, and only a couple of people in the world know them, unless you count the IRS, and they're as trustworthy as people can be. Even my wife doesn't know two of them. The books are even registered under the pseudonyms, so they can't be traced that way, which is how many pseudonyms are uncovered.

There's never a guarantee, but pseudonyms can be pretty solid, if you really want them to be.

Arpeggio
04-27-2013, 07:21 PM
That would be a falsehood, unless you are actually a self-publisher.

Hi. Are you replying to me? if so then yes, a self-publisher.

I'd be all like..."Wasn't me! It was an author under a publishing imprint of mine. Yes all payments go to me as the publisher but then I pay the authors, including Heidi Hanrickson for sales of her book about Lesbian zombie oil wrestling vampires."