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lenore_x
09-17-2016, 10:10 PM
My understanding is that if you write in more than one genre/category, it can be a good idea to use different pseudonyms for branding purposes.

I mostly write YA fantasy novels, and have been seeking representation on and off in that department. Meanwhile, I've had an adult horror story accepted for an anthology. It's not exactly compatible with what I usually write. So I want to publish the horror story under a pseudonym. How different does a pseudonym need to be in this case? For example, if I write YA as Lauren Hunter, is L.M. Hunter sufficiently different for my Super Sekrit Clandestine Horror Career?

Oh, and on that note. This is a small press thing and I wasn't planning to advertise it as a publishing credit when pitching agents. But if, wonder of wonders, I did find an agent interested in my novel, I figured I'd mention it then. Does that all sound appropriate?

These are probably silly questions, but I'm anxious!

Roxxsmom
09-17-2016, 11:44 PM
I think it depends on whether you're using the pseudonym more for branding purposes, or if you actually want to hide the fact that you write in two genres. Banks wrote mainstream fiction under the name Ian Banks, and science fiction under the name Ian M. Banks. I think most people knew the books were by the same guy, but the different names presumably allowed someone scanning the cover to know the genre of a given title.

In your case, I suppose it might depend on whether or not you think a teenager (or the parent of a teenager) who picked up one of your horror stories would be actively put off anything you wrote for teens in the future? There are some writers (Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb) who even have different pen names within the same genre when the style of the books are different.

The Farmer
09-18-2016, 12:04 AM
I'm in the same boat as you, Lenore_x. I write Middle Grade and Young Adult. The book I am currently writing is adult sci fi and contains bad language. I plan on just changing my first name for the author of the adult book.

Bacchus
09-18-2016, 12:21 AM
Very interested in the opinions on this thread, I have two WIPs, one is a second volume of a comic fantasy, the other a serious dystopian utopia type thing. I am thinking of publishing the comic series under a great uncle's name (which, intrinsiclly, is mildly comedic)

I wouldn't want anyone to pick the serious one up expecting laughs (c:

or, worse, be expecting laughs and then be disappointed having read the serious work...!!!

DongerNeedFood
09-18-2016, 01:40 AM
Daniel Abraham also writes under the names James S.A. Corey and M.L.N Hanover

lenore_x
09-18-2016, 03:20 AM
I think it depends on whether you're using the pseudonym more for branding purposes, or if you actually want to hide the fact that you write in two genres. Banks wrote mainstream fiction under the name Ian Banks, and science fiction under the name Ian M. Banks. I think most people knew the books were by the same guy, but the different names presumably allowed someone scanning the cover to know the genre of a given title.

In your case, I suppose it might depend on whether or not you think a teenager (or the parent of a teenager) who picked up one of your horror stories would be actively put off anything you wrote for teens in the future? There are some writers (Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb) who even have different pen names within the same genre when the style of the books are different.

I'm not worried about teen readers, really. It's more about my reputation with publishing industry professionals. Like how if you had a previous book that didn't sell well, that can be a mark against you. I just wouldn't want future agents being like "wow lady you can never use the name Hunter again." :P

It's also kind of an odd situation because it's a novella, which feels slightly higher stakes than a short story. Or maybe they're on the same level? I dunno.

Editing to add: Since I feel like I'm begging the question of why I just don't choose a completely different name if I'm that worried about it... my edits are due very soon and I don't want to pick a name I'll end up regretting/never wanting to use for future horror writing. Yeesh, me!

Aggy B.
09-18-2016, 06:01 AM
I would not worry about picking a pseudonym for querying. If you are writing in multiple genres you might discuss with an agent if it would be wiser to use a different pen name with each one, but, in general, the agent will contract with you under your legal name. And, while an agent might want you to use a different pen name if previous books under a particular name had not sold well, not telling them about that can come across as deceptive.

It's slightly different if you are going straight to publishers, in which case you would likely query as Legal Name writing as Snazzy Pen Name.

Personally, I write in fairly similar genres (and no YA yet) so I use a single pen name for all of them. The exception being that I sometimes write and sell Erotica and those have a completely different pen name for obvious reasons.

lenore_x
09-18-2016, 09:42 AM
Oh no, it was never my intention to query under a pseudonym (or to not tell prospective agents about my publishing history). The idea is that I'd like to save the name "Lauren Hunter" for YA, so I'm pre-emptively thinking I should choose a different pen name for adult horror. As in I actually have to choose this week, because I am working directly with a publisher. D:

Aggy B.
09-18-2016, 04:30 PM
Oh no, it was never my intention to query under a pseudonym (or to not tell prospective agents about my publishing history). The idea is that I'd like to save the name "Lauren Hunter" for YA, so I'm pre-emptively thinking I should choose a different pen name for adult horror. As in I actually have to choose this week, because I am working directly with a publisher. D:

I was once told by a well-meaning fellow that my real name (Anna Grace Carpenter) was too sweet for zombie fiction (and by extension) horror. I write as A.G. Carpenter anyway, but some folks have a perception that feminine names don't go well with Horror. But some of that will depend on you. "Hunter" is probably a great Horror name, but you are right that using initials might be better to keep the Adult Horror separate from YA. Unless the difference is mostly that you have adult characters instead of teens, but the content is not especially gory or full of sex or whatnot.

In other words, I think the thing you need to consider is, if you later write YA and young people go looking for other books you've written would you be comfortable with a search for that pen name turning up your current book? If not, try and separate the two.