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View Full Version : Does my pen name need a pen name?



Fruitbat
04-02-2015, 06:38 PM
I just sent my third book off for someone to format for me, for self-publishing. And now I'm overcome with this semi-panicky idea that maybe I should tell him to put a different pen name on it.

It's almost like my pen name has become a person in a way and I don't feel all that anonymous anymore, which I don't like. I feel free to write whatever I want when I'm anonymous and like someone is looking over my shoulder all the time when I don't feel anonymous. Blech.

Also, this book and the next one I have planned are domestic-ish things like beauty tips and marriage stuff. They do get a little personal here and there.

On the other hand, using different names might cut down on the sales building as more books are out under the same name. But I'm not sure how much that applies when they're not the same genre or category.

And then it might all just be the jitters from putting a new book out.

Thoughts? I should probably figure it out today.

Jamesaritchie
04-02-2015, 07:33 PM
I write under several pseudonyms, but I really don't have much of a choice. In your case, I think it depend son teh genre of the different books, and on how prolific you are. Keeping more than one name going strong means writing as much for each name as possible. Each name has to be in teh public eye on a pretty regular basis, though it doesn't hurt to have one, as long as it's really liked, to be one of those writers who only seems to come out with a new book every four or five years.

thethinker42
04-02-2015, 07:47 PM
I write under five pseudonyms. It's entirely a branding thing. And yes, it does mean building two readerships, keeping two names visible, etc.

One option is to be completely open about it. This way you get a little bit of cross promotion (and there will be *some* readers who want to cross over), but still keep them separate enough to let readers know they're getting an entirely different brand. This is what I've done, and while it's still a pain in the ass to maintain visibility for multiple names, it's easier when I don't ALSO have to maintain separate blogs, websites, twitter accounts, personas, etc.

Your mileage may vary -- that kind of approach won't work for every setup (i.e., I wouldn't have a joint website for someone who wrote both erotica and children's books), but it's a possibility.

Lori, who seriously is NOT adding any more pen names

juniper
04-02-2015, 09:00 PM
I write under several pseudonyms


I write under five pseudonyms.

Just curious, do the names all have something in common? A specific name part - like Bob Adams, Bob Cratchett, Robert Edwards, Ty Bobbins, Roberta Smith, Bobbie Sue McFinn - or start with the same letter - or all they all quite different?

juniper, always curious

Jamesaritchie
04-02-2015, 10:14 PM
Just curious, do the names all have something in common? A specific name part - like Bob Adams, Bob Cratchett, Robert Edwards, Ty Bobbins, Roberta Smith, Bobbie Sue McFinn - or start with the same letter - or all they all quite different?

juniper, always curious

A couple of my pseudonyms are house names, so they have nothing in common.

I'll say only that the others are old family names, so in this, yes, they have something in common.

Fruitbat
04-03-2015, 12:39 AM
Good points. I'm going to do it (get a second pen name). Thanks, everyone so far.

thethinker42
04-03-2015, 03:04 AM
Just curious, do the names all have something in common? A specific name part - like Bob Adams, Bob Cratchett, Robert Edwards, Ty Bobbins, Roberta Smith, Bobbie Sue McFinn - or start with the same letter - or all they all quite different?

juniper, always curious

Mine are all variations of my real name: L.A. Witt, Lori A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, Ann Gallagher. Well, okay, #5 (Diana Fyre) is different, but I just loved that name.

WEM
04-04-2015, 12:48 PM
Like some of the others have said, it's about branding. People need to pick up your book and know the type of thing they're going to be reading.

A horror writer publishing a book on, say, car maintenance, might be a shock to a prospective reader and dilute their brand a little.

Jamesaritchie
04-05-2015, 05:37 AM
Like some of the others have said, it's about branding. People need to pick up your book and know the type of thing they're going to be reading.

A horror writer publishing a book on, say, car maintenance, might be a shock to a prospective reader and dilute their brand a little.

Worse is when the horror writer publishes a book that's obviously a novel, but that may be a romance, or a mystery, but still can look like a horror novel unless you inspect it closely.

You start reading, waiting for the horror, and it never happens.