Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - pen names


Do you write under your real name or a pseudonym? Or do you publish under both? I'm curious as to why you chose to do so, because I debated whether to use a pen name or not with my newest stories.

There are many good reasons to use a pen name: boring or hard to pronounce real name, real name already the same as a famous person, the desire for personal privacy, identity protection, writing in a different genre than you're known for, and giving yourself a second chance.

Many famous authors have used pseudonyms. It's not an unusual thing in this business. In fact, it could be a good marketing decision.

Some hide the fact they use a pen name while others let their readers know they've something published under a different name. Again, neither is out of the ordinary. We're in a world where it is acceptable for authors to use various identities. Use it to your advantage.

I've become known for writing The 13th Floor, a paranormal romance series. I'm now approaching a time in my career where I'm publishing something that is not in that genre. It is still contemporary and adult romance, but not supernatural. Who is Christine Rains without the otherworldly stuff?

I publish all my short stories under my name. They encompass a wide variety of genres. But that isn't the same as the world of novellas and novels.

I had to decide if Christine Rains was only a paranormal romance author or something more? Did I want a different name attached to my books in another genre? I waffled back and forth. I even tried to think of a great pen name. I was unsuccessful, but it didn't deter me from considering still using one.

In the end, I decided not to use a pseudonym. The new books may be a different genre and they may be completely different in style than the 13th Floor series, but they're still adult romances. I believe the majority of my readers will like the new books. I would also like to attract readers who pick up the new books first to read my paranormal romances next.

24 comments:

  1. Interesting that you should ask this as I have a new book coming out soon, and while it is still NA Contemporary Romance, it is a little more adult than my Game On books - I'm still debating the pros and cons of using a different name.

    And Kyra Lennon is not my real name, unfortunately lol!

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  2. Continuing to use "Christine Rains" seems like a smart choice to me. Like you said, your projects are all still romances, so I don't think it'll deter any readers!

    I probably should've considered a pseudonym, especially since another artist has my name, but...I'm stubborn, so I'm going to see how things go with my real name first. XD

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  3. Very interesting question. I know some use a Pen Name for different genres. It sounds like a good idea, but I wonder if I would get confused. I'm horrible with names!

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  4. That's a big part of the dilemma, isn't it--sacrificing sales from established fans to save the brand? There's pluses and minuses either way you go.

    I write with a pen name because my real name is blah, and if I spruce it up by using my initials, it's gender neutral, which is lousy for marketing romance.

    Good luck. :)

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  5. If you can successfully market both, why not? Elizabeth S. Craig markets all on one blog, including her Riley Adams titles.

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  6. I've considered pen names too (like if I diverged from writing spec fic and went to contemporary), but then I get to thinking about all I'd have to do to promote not one name but two. No thank you! That said, if I were to write something more adult (i.e. erotica), then I'd consider using a pen name because it'd be quite different from my YA and even adult works. I think you made a good decision to keep your name for the new works.

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  7. I use the name I was born with and dropped the hyphened part. I have plans to write some spicier more romantical and girly stuff and debate whether I should use a different name or not. It's a departure from my current audience. Hmmm. I'll consider that more when I get to that point.

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  8. That is an interesting question. I think if I was wanting to publish under two different names, I'd use my married name as one and my maiden name as the other. Might also use the middle initial with one of the names.

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  9. I write under my maiden name because (a) it's unique and (b) my married name is the same as a fictional sleuth, so if you were to Google it, you would only get a bunch of hits for this series of books . . . In short, it would be impossible to find me online if I wrote under my married name. So though my maiden name is difficult to spell and pronounce (that's why I didn't use it for my URL), at least people looking for it--or for "M Pepper"--should find me.

    I do use a second (third actually?) name for my New Age stuff because I don't feel the need to have those things connected to my fiction.

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  10. I'm not sure which is best but I do use the pen name 'Susan Kelley' for my romance novels and use my real name for my fantasy novels.

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  11. I'm right there with you. I toyed with pseudonyms several years ago, but what it came down to was this: I wanted to keep myself accountable for the content I put out there. Maybe that's silly, but I didn't want to give myself permission to put something out that I'd be embarrassed to acknowledge at church. PLUS building up all that branding and social media for a completely new person? Yikes.

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  12. I'd thought about pen names, like using my maiden name...but I have a lot more relatives tied to my maiden name than I do to my married name, so if I ever did get famous, then they'd have a higher rate of getting Googled. Not to mention my maiden name is Mori. When put side-by-side, most people don't read the "N" in Loni Mori.

    I think it's great you're using your established brand. I think it'll help.

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  13. Hi Christine,

    Personally, I prefer using my own name. Although I can understand the dilemma of using a different name in regards to a different form of writing.

    Then again, I do have a certain Jack Russell write on my behalf :)

    Gary

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  14. It is such a tricky one... but i think you're right... plus this way you are taking a fan base to your new books and not having to start from scratch in building a new brand name:)

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  17. OMG, my computer duplicated my post and then I deleted one too many! Trying again... I do have a pen name for new adult romance (Kitsy Clare) though my website has pages for each. This way I do provide boundaries, yet I don;t have to jump through too many branding hoops!

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  18. I have a friend who used a pen name. Her reason is because she self-published the book, rather than going through the publishing house/agent as she normally does. I don't think I will ever use a pen name. Too confusing for the fans.

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  19. Thank you to everyone for commenting. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggled with this decision. I hope I made the right one.

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  20. It's a tough question. I've considered using a pen name in the past because I figured my name was a bit boring. Then I figured it's my name and I should be proud of it! I guess the only time I'd consider using a different name is if I write something totally alien to what I right now.

    Ellie Garratt

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  21. What I 'write' now, not 'right'. Hanging my head in shame.

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  22. Great decision! From another writer who also uses her real name :)

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  23. I think it's a good idea. I write under my own name and I like it. I don't want to hide who I am and everything I write is from me, so I want it to be me. I like fantasy and romance and many things. I think it's okay to write more than one different story under your own name. :)

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  24. With all the info available online these days, I think keeping it all under one name seems best. People will discover pen-name links anyway, so why not make it easy and all in one place.

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