PDA

View Full Version : How to query after switching to pen name?



Galumph_Triumph
03-29-2016, 09:33 PM
Dear agents,

I've got two related questions that have been kind of concerning me. I've published one horror novel under my real name, but I've decided to switch to a pen name due to the fact that I'm now a teacher. I would like to keep my professional and author lives separate. So, when my next book is finished, I'm going to query agents, and I'm not sure how to proceed. Should I introduce myself as (Real Name), author of X book, and now I'm publishing under Y pen name?

Second, I've been warned that agents sometimes reject manuscripts simply because they think the pen name is stupid. Have you ever done this? Can you give examples of ridiculous pen names? I'm scared that the pen name I've picked out might get rejected, because the first name is Felix (which is a common German name and was assigned to me as a student in German class for many years). The surname is English, easily pronounceable, etc.

Thanks for your time.

ZachJPayne
03-29-2016, 10:54 PM
IANAA (just an inbox intern), but the way I've seen it most often done is with the closing:

Sincerely,
Bob Jones, writing as Asphodel Kensington

Simple, elegant, and to the point.

I think your surname will be fine, but I won't speculate as to whether or not agents reject on that basis.

I do find it interesting that you use your HS German name, that's what I was considering using, before I went with my birthname: Tobias Morgenlieder.

TECarter
03-29-2016, 11:11 PM
If you have a terrible name (real or pen), your agent or publisher may suggest a change. It could be for a number of reasons. You have an unfortunate name that people will think is a joke (worse when it's a real name), your name is too similar to someone in your market already (it must suck to be a writer named Steven King), or a variety of other circumstances. I don't imagine they'd care about your name as far as rejecting you for it. They'd just suggest changing it.

Earthling
03-29-2016, 11:56 PM
I didn't mention my pen name in the query. It was something we discussed when I signed.

veinglory
03-30-2016, 12:17 AM
I mention it as I have a pre-existing pen name and I use it across many publishers--so I don't want to risk any feelings that they have ownership of it. And I use Zach's format. Of course if an editor suggested using a new one I would consider it, but ultimately feel that has very little to do with the publisher.

Galumph_Triumph
03-30-2016, 04:04 AM
IANAA (just an inbox intern), but the way I've seen it most often done is with the closing:

Sincerely,
Bob Jones, writing as Asphodel Kensington

Simple, elegant, and to the point.

I think your surname will be fine, but I won't speculate as to whether or not agents reject on that basis.

I do find it interesting that you use your HS German name, that's what I was considering using, before I went with my birthname: Tobias Morgenlieder.

This is very helpful, thank you. And by the way, Tobias Morgenlieder is one of the greatest names I've ever heard. I might have to steal that for a character...

Galumph_Triumph
03-30-2016, 04:05 AM
And thank you everyone else, this is heartening.

Jamesaritchie
03-31-2016, 03:23 AM
No one is going to reject a good novel based on a bad pseudonym. Would you?

There is no reason to mention a pseudonym in a query unless you have been selling stories under that name. It's simply not an issue, and looks very amateurish. Every agent and editor out there knows all about pseudonyms, how they work, and when they're needed. The are not need in a query letter, ever, except for the one case I mentioned, if you are already selling fiction under that name.