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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

so very modern

okay a number of people who Know These Things say that using a fake name is in the past. Hiding your identity is a tough proposition these days and if you're not devoted to making sure no one finds you (for a reason like you write gay fiction and you're a member of a conservative church or a third grade teacher or both), then using a pseudonym just annoys tech-savvy readers who wonder why you bother. They assume something is off. . . .Are you hiding bad sales figures? Bad reviews? Just trying to be cute?

Hmmm.

Skip Callie Braden
, they say. Summer Devon is okay, because yeah, if it would be objectionable to some of your readers, makes sense to have a special name for the sex. But Callie Braden? Don't bother. Or if I am going to bother, I should something obviously related to my name (I tried Kate Wells, but got bad results) then it fits the "cute" and not "deceptive" category.

What do you think? In the internettty age does it make less or more sense to use a pseudonym for each different genre?

13 comments:

  1. I use a name other than my real one because my husband is not fond of what I write, is rather offended by it, and has asked that I not link my real name to it.

    I know other authors that have used different names for different genres because the voice is different, the content way different, or they just didn't want the one name associated with the other.

    I don't see a problem with it.

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  2. that's a good (hmmm...) *outside* reason to use another name.

    I wonder if within the writing world it's better or worse to switch names when you switch genres. Maybe it doesn't really matter within those confines?

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  3. Maybe it depends on how different the genres are. I mean, if it were a subgenre of what one normally writes, I wouldn't think a name switch would be necessary, but say if you're going from Erotic Romance to Chick Lit or YA, one might want to opt for another pen name...

    Interesting to think about.

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  4. I've always found pseudonyms to be a bit annoying and condescending. Condescending because it assumes the reader can't manage to read outside one genre. And annoying because as a reader, if I like an author I'm going to like what she writes whether it's romance or horror, so it's a pain in the ass to try to find her other work. Unless you're friends with her and you know that her other name is a seasonal cheese, in which case it's all cool.

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  5. Seasonal Cheese is a fantastic name. I wish I'd thought of it.

    Doug doesn't like it, Lissa doesn't mind it, I'm confused. I guess it's entirely subjective and just because People Who Know Many Things claim that the majority hates the pseudonym, I won't believe it until I see a survey.

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  6. I think from my experience that people don't like it. But I always wanted a nom de plum, and I don't plan on changing mine unless I have HUGE genre differences, like erotica and inspirational -- or if the editors want me to, I'm down with it of course.

    My experience was publishing in the RWA chapter's newsletter. We send them out on the web to share with different chapters, and I started getting hate mail on my author website! Saying I was a bad person and assuming I was trying to hide something. Such as book reviews for a review site where I was slamming authors. There WAS a person doing that, but she had neither of my names--Grace Atkinson or Grace Tyler--and had Grace somewhere in her name, don't remember.

    I was reviewing for a website at the time, Romance Junkies, and they don't allow negative reviews, so that was just bunk. And mean and pretty stupid, sorry to say.

    But what I gathered was that people don't like the pseudonym thing. I don't care, because I always wanted one since I was a midget *no offense, please, little people* and I'm keeping it until/unless told otherwise.

    The only other author name I plan to use (again unless I go with erotica, only because I don't want people who are used to me being PG picking up something and burning their eyes off) is my real name if I'm asked to change.

    That's my opinion. Funny, I thought I just had a weird "fan." Didn't realize it was a common sentiment among readers.

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  7. Readers don't like pseudonyms? News to me.

    I use one to protect my kids and my husband from the inevitable fallout of having a mother/wife who writes smut, m/m, BDSM and otherwise. It's not the readers I'm worried about - it's the folks who wouldn't read what I write in a million years, but have no problem judging me or my family based on that book they won't touch.

    Would I use a second pseudonym if I changed genres? Often that isn't up to the author. For example, if sold a book to Harl/Sil tomorrow (in one of the non-Spice/Blaze lines) it's entirely possible they'd insist on it.

    I'm sorry to hear readers don't like authors to use pseudonyms. It's not something I intend to change, however. Writing what I write under my own name would cost me too much to worth it.

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  8. I think when it comes to erotic writing no one minds--it's sort of expected, in fact.

    And Moira Rogers in twitterdom pointed out that if she writes a non-romance without an HEA she might piss off her romance readers. Who'd be more annoyed? My bet would be the HEA-expecting readers.

    A complete change of genre? I don't think anyone complains. I got my negative feedback about a non-erotic sub-genre of romance. Historical vs. contemporary.

    I thought it was interesting because it again points out how the internet means readers are more involved in authors' lives and not just their books.

    The whole transformation of human interaction with the webs is interesting. the fact that a reader and author enter into a social contract and not just the old reader/writer thing is very weird. but interesting.

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  9. Anonymous8:52 PM

    WEIRD, BUT INTERESTING... you perpetuate the phenomenon of "how the internet means readers are more involved in authors' lives and not just their books" - by telling your life story on your blog. You're not above the curiosity seekers... you throw them chum almost every day.

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  10. chum? naw, more like canned tuna not raw fish.

    But listen. No one has to read this.

    I got to say it's happened before and always bugs me that someone would come around anonymously (doesn't nearly bother me as much when there's a name, so put that in the pseudonym issue) and give me shit about what I write here. If it makes you feel scornful--unless you enjoy feeling scorn---don't bother. It doesn't do anything for me, in case you care.

    This isn't require reading. There won't be a quiz, and you don't get paid for it (and neither do I, for that matter) so if it bugs you, DON'T bother.

    And if it sounds like I'm pro or anti pseudonym or the whole process of authors and readers interacting? I'm interested in it, not strongly condemning or praising it.. I'm certainly not condemning people who don't like having their name out there. Just curious about the process and people's response.

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  11. although eh, I guess that last comment shows it's clear I do dislike the whole anonymous thing for snark. (Hope I remember that next time I have the urge to leave anonymous snark, which is too often.)

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  12. Kate - I enjoy your "chum" (as long as it's not herring or anchovies...yuck!) and think spineless Anon commenters are all just having a bad day on your dime. As for pen-names, I don't mind them, and in all the various genres I read, I completely expect them. The only thing I don't like is when an author starts a series using one name and switches names as she continues the series. Ahem.

    OhOh BSG is starting! Excuse me while I clap with joy and sob into a tissue at the same time here!

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  13. I like fake names, nom de plumes, pseudonyms, whatever. What difference does it make? In fact, I travel around the internet as Corn Dog, but after reading Anon's comment I think my new name might be Chum Vomit.

    But then there is always my v-word: altisma

    Do what I do with Anon's - delete them. Press the delete key. Whoosh. Gone. My blog. My rules. Say buh-bye.

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