Okay, first off, pseudonym is not a spelling that comes naturally to me, so from here on out we’ll talk pen names.
Since beginning my writing journey, I’ve progressed from thinking I only had one novel in me, to developing the concepts for multiple novels of multiple lengths in multiple genres. My natural state – if we shall call it that – is chick lit, but I could see myself writing children’s books or even branching out into other genres.
At what point do you want to begin separating your names dependent on genres?
Here’s my little list of pro pseudonym vs. con:
- Ability to sell in multiple genres without turning off one audience based on your previous work. Romance readers may not be interested in horror or fantasy, as an example. (I personally am an equal opportunity reader!)
- Ability to remain fairly anonymous – personal preference, depends on what you’re writing and how public/private a person you are.
- Ability to appeal to different audiences without preconceptions – i.e. J.K. Rowling was specifically marketed as such, because publishers didn’t think boys would read a book written by a woman.
Con Pseudonym (btw – I’m getting over my fear of this spelling)
- You can lose the strength in your brand – for readers that are interested in all your work, they may not find you cross-genre
- You will need to build multiple platforms to market your different areas of work, as opposed to one central platform
- Publicity – say you hit the big time (we all dream of this), if you’re traditionally published, there will be the expectation that you’ll eventually need to make public appearances. Look at Madeleine Wickham/Sophie Kinsella. Both sets of books sold well on their own, but now the Madeleine Wickham books have “Sophie Kinsella” on them also. At some point it all comes out in the wash.
Through writing this… I think I’ve landed on no pseudonyms… unless I go rogue and start to write super steamy (I can see my writing pals getting a good chuckle out of that idea). I do have a 9-5 after all.
Your thoughts? Would you/have you used a pen name? Why would or wouldn’t you?