re: Hidden Hassles of Pen Names

posted 8/26/11

Dear Editor…

I write both adult novels and books for children. Should I use a different pen name for my adult fiction than I use for my children’s fiction? I’ve asked people this before and most just scratch their head and say, “Interesting that you can write for such a wide audience.” I know I am not the only one in this situation.

Sincerely,
Haley

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Dear Haley…

This isn’t a simple name recognition issue. Yes, use a pen name if readers will be negatively impacted by knowledge of your books in other categories or genres (as with kidlit authors pubbing romance). The risk of losing out on positive name recognition in one category if the other does well isn’t big since such audiences won’t likely cross over in big numbers anyway. But think beyond that: You’ll be managing 2 professional personas. Will you need 2 websites? 2 blogs? 2 Twitter, Facebook, Google+ accounts? How will you handle 2 personas at your events? Your promo is mostly on you—can you build reputations for 2 “people” and maintain/promote them forevermore. If risk management isn’t an issue, stick with one name and make your life a whole lot easier.

Happy writing!
The Editor

P.S. For more on this topic, read Promotion, Publishing Biz
posted by: The Editor
under: Promotion, Publishing Biz
Comments to "re: Hidden Hassles of Pen Names" | Add a Comment
    1. Sue Ford wrote (on 08/26/11 at 1:50 pm) :

      I’m a person who chose to use a pen name and it does/has create/d complications. I interviewed other authors and wrote an article on this topic. The reprint of the article is on my site at http://www.susanuhlig.com/2011/03/double-identity.html. Just this week I also saw a blog post by an agent on the topic. Now if I could just remember who it was. If I find it, I’ll post that link too.

      [Reply]

      The Editor replied (on 08/26/11 at 2:14 pm) :

      Thanks, Sue. It was fun to read why the writers in your blog article made the pen name choices they did—and to learn about a few more things to consider with this issue.

      [Reply]

    2. Sue Ford wrote (on 08/26/11 at 1:54 pm) :

      This wasn’t the post I was looking for, but still a good post: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/12/whats-in-name-all-about-pen-names.html

      And I found a couple others. Hope you don’t mind,
      Deborah!

      http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/why-pen-names-suck-can-make-us-crazy/

      http://jamigold.com/2011/06/branding-101-to-pen-name-or-not-to-pen-name/

      [Reply]

    3. Andrea wrote (on 08/26/11 at 2:03 pm) :

      Thanks for the guidance on what to think about for this situation.

      [Reply]

      The Editor replied (on 08/26/11 at 2:15 pm) :

      Just a few years ago, the online self-promo aspect wasn’t a key factor (or one at all!), but now it’s definitely got to be considered along with all the other pros and cons.

      [Reply]

    4. Laura C. wrote (on 08/26/11 at 4:08 pm) :

      Although I have’t published a book yet, I’ve sold many short stories under two different pen names. I intended to come up with a third or fourth for different genre novels, but now I’m reconsidering due to this post. Thanks for bringing the pros and cons to my attentions.

      [Reply]

      The Editor replied (on 08/27/11 at 10:04 am) :

      Pen names are definitely deeper issues than they first appear.

      [Reply]

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