View Full Version : Using Pseudonyms

12-01-2006, 09:22 PM
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I spent a good number of years thinking about writing and have finally gotten down to outlining the ideas that I've have been tossing around. So far, I've got a twisted-serial-killer thriller thing going on in one peice; a light, contemporary romance; a rather dark piece of fiction dealing with depression; an article on doctor/patient relationships and something that appears to want to turn itself into progressive christian fiction. This is typical of me. I can never settle for just one thing when there are so many interesting things out there. What can I say? I like variety.

Anyway, I know that I am getting ahead of myself here, but it occurs to me that I would probably want to use different names for some of these. Dark and twisted is rather difficult to reconcile with religious writing. So, I'm not really asking if I should use a pseudonym. I'm more interested in how one does this. I am assuming that a paycheck would be written to your actual name. I would also guess that a contract would need your real name in order to be legal. Is the name a story, book, article, etc, is published under part of the contract? Is this something that would be mentioned in a query letter when pitching/submitting an article? At what point in the process does this come up?

~Lissa, who is all too often bogged down in the details

12-01-2006, 09:33 PM
Ask Uncle Jim and James A. Ritchie. If I remember correctly they use more than one.

12-01-2006, 09:34 PM
Speaking not from experience, but since I am in a similar situation, I asked this same question of some published authors I've met. So I'm speaking from their experience. ;) Bruce Holland Rogers, in particular, uses several pseudonyms, because he's so prolific.

He told me that the discussion should come up after the agent has accepted you, when you're readying your MS to go to publishers. Your agent will (SHOULD) know when to bring that up with the publisher, etc. Basically, you tell your agent everything and they guide you. If you are going it without agent, then tell the publisher/editor, but again, after acceptance.

Bruce told me that he felt that pseudonyms are important because (as an example) you don't want your fantasy novel sitting next to your Western -- one of those books will die because it'll be in the wrong part of the bookstore so the book's target readers won't see it. There were a lot of other, good reasons, but that one was the easiest to write down here. :D

If you're doing shorts, etc., that you want to use a pseudonym for, again I believe it's after acceptance but before publication. You let the editor know you'd like to use a pen name but the check comes to your real name. It's so common that it isn't a big deal. However, you will always want to talk to your tax professional, just in case there are IRS nuances you need to be prepared for (a paid-for, political announcement from my CPA, who is also one of my main beta readers -- she loves you all and doesn't want any of you to go to jail with Richard Hatch).

12-02-2006, 07:32 AM
Thanks! This is exactly the kind of info that I need. It is really the shorts and articles that are my immeidate concerns. The novels are so far from being finished that I've got plenty of time to worry about those monsters.