Thursday, May 10, 2012

Using your Pen Name Wisely

For many authors including myself the use of a pen name is common. Authors who wish to genre cross or just want to keep their real name private may choose this option. In the last year my pen names have become an extension of me. There are a few key details that you need to make sure you have covered if you do not want your pen names coming back to haunt you. 

  • Remember that your pen name is an separate identity. Try not to link your pen name to any of your personal accounts, blogs, or address.
  • If you choose to genre cross you will be writing under two different names, this can get a bit trickier. Now you have to make sure you do the above, twice. On top of that, you do not want to use an author photo for the second pen name if it can be avoided. Your bio should also be changed.
  • Do not use one pen name to promote another. It is still shameless self promotion.
  • If at all possible create your own publishing house. This is the best way to write under multiple pen names and have them all associated, with out giving you away. 

For each pen name you create you need to be prepared to promote that name and the books associated with it. That means two or more of everything. Facebook fan pages, blogs,Twitter accounts, etc... The list could go on for days. Treat each Pen name as a separate persona. (This is the fun part) Try not to be too crazy or go too far off base. This can be a sure fire way to forget the details of you alter ego.

I tend to treat my pen names the way I would a character from a book I would write. Get to know your "other self". Along with completing a bio you need to be ready to answer any question some one may have, regarding that particular personality.This means you have to create a whole story for this person. Most authors choose to have only one or two pen names for that reason alone.

Some of the greatest authors of our time have employed the use of pen names, especially early in their careers. Stephen King wrote as Richard Bachmen, Nora Roberts as J.D. Rob, Ann Rice as Ann Roquelaure, to name a few. 

Until next time, may your muse be at your side and your writing the light that guides you.


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