Sunday, December 06, 2015

Pondering the Whole Pen Name Thing

My writing friends know that, as a long-time mystery author, I’ve been thinking about stretching my wings to write an urban fantasy. In fact, I’ve been plotting and making notes for some time. I’ve also been contemplating whether to use a pen name. Pros and cons have been tossed around for a while now, but after reading a blog about pseudonyms by Roz Morris, I’m honing in on a final decision.

I understand why some authors prefer to use a pen name. As authors state in Morris’s blog, they work in professions where it might not be all that helpful to be identified as a fiction author. Also, authors who write erotica might not want coworkers, family or friends to know about it.

As Morris pointed out, a pen name doesn’t necessarily keep one’s identity a secret in this day and age. All it takes is a friend snapping a photo of you at your book signing, then posting it on Facebook. The next thing you know, someone’s sharing and outing you by your real name.

The whole social network thing also creates more work. Another author quoted in the blog understandably found it a hassle to keep two Twitter accounts under two different names. Can you imagine doing so for Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Amazon, and all the many other sites? Branding is important, and if you’re working hard at branding your name, then it would feel like starting over.

Here’s another thing I learned from the blog. Amazon’s KDP and CreateSpace allow authors to associate their real account with any pen name they want. Kobo is also pen-name friendly, but Smashwords only allows one account and one name.

So, what am I going to do? I’ve decided to stick with my own name. I’ve seen several successful authors brand themselves, despite writing in multiple genres. In this day and age, it makes sense unless, of course, erotica writing is in my future. After all, my kids can only handle so much embarrassment from their mom.

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