View Full Version : Pseudonyms?
March 29th, 2003, 08:01 AM
I'm sure that a lot of you have spent time constructing the perfect pen-name and that just as many are determined to use their own name.
I'm not asking for advice but am just interested to know if any of you have more than one pen-name that you intend to use for different genres. I have a theory that once a reader has read something by a particular author they expect their future work to run along similiar lines, and if as the author you are looking to break into a different market, or try something new this could actually work against you.
What do you reckon? And how many pen names do you think you might one day use.
I personally have come up with about half a dozen, however the work I am currently sending out is being done so under my real name, I have another theory that using a pen name might allow you to say, "ah yeah that's finished" and not put 100% into it, but because I'm using my real name I have to put my best work out and can't accept anything less as I will be accountable for it for all time (if it gets published and if anybody ever actually sees it).
March 29th, 2003, 08:26 AM
Well, Holbrook Adams is made up of two family names. And it is the name I write Fantasy under.
About 5 years ago I wrote a terrible story about a fantasy writer with writer's block, a female Welsh wizard and a boggart all let loose at a fantasy convention....
The writer's name was Holbrook Adams..... and it struck me as an ideal one for myself to use.
I tend to use my own name for the historical fiction I write and two more family names, Hobson West for any horror I write.
I also have the silly idea that Holbrook Adams, of the three names, will actually get published.
March 29th, 2003, 10:18 AM
Everything I ever submitted for publication was under my real name. The things posted here at sffworld are under my grandfather's first name and middle initial, August Oh.
I believe when I submit again for publishing, it will again be under my real name.
March 29th, 2003, 11:25 AM
I definitely have an interest in writing for more than one genre and would probably like to use more than one name, as I might confuse readers otherwise.
I'd probably use my real name, my maiden name, and then my first name and mother's maiden name.
It might sound a bit sad, but I'd quite like to use my maiden name first so that if people from school saw my work they'd see that I was successful - oh dear, that does sound a bit lame.
March 29th, 2003, 03:16 PM
I have read, in two unrelated instances, that the use of a psuedonym can be viewed as unprofessional amongst some editors. I am as of now, unpublished, but do sign using a psuedonym. I ask what your opinions are in this because some of these "how-to" books and articles about writing, proofing, and manuscript preparation, etc. indicate that a psuednym can be viewed with "disdain" or give an impression of "this piece must be terrible as the author doesn't even want their true name associated with it". I read this once and dismissed it as the article writers' personal bias, but then again have read this from another that seemed to have more creditability in the genre. Yes, I know MANY authors use psuedonym's and many will continued to do so (including me), but have any of you heard of such instances where the use of a psuedonym has relevance on whether a piece is published?
March 29th, 2003, 04:16 PM
Having a pseudonym is not unprofessional - as you say many writers have them. They are used for a variety of reasons(e.g. they don't want to be known by their real name because their day to day work conflicts with their writing), but not usually because a writer is ashamed of using their own name - and good publishers should know this.
I suppose, however, that some publishers might think someone submitting work under a pseudonym might be jumping the gun a bit - as they don't need to know that straightaway. In any case, there's no real need to tell a publisher until they accept a piece that you'd like to use a pseudonym so if you're worried, just don't mention it when you send in the work.
The only other problem I can think of with pseudonyms is if your work gets separated from your covering letter and they can't match up the two things again.
March 29th, 2003, 05:42 PM
Why would publishers care if you use a pseudonym or not? The checks go to your real name and though it might be a tiny bit of extra paperwork, it's certainly not unusual to them. When I was editing at NAL long ago, we had western series that were written by writers for hire under a set pseudonym for the series. Romance writers in the last few years have had major battles with romance publishers over who owns the pseudonym because the publishers felt they did and would publish with other writers under the pseudonym. The romance authors have mostly won that battle, I believe, and get to keep their own pseudonyms, and category romance is sort of a special case because of the different ways the books are sold. In other genres, publishers have little interest in owning your pseudonym, though I suppose if you get big enough, there might be some interest in publishing under your name when you're dead, a la V.C. Andrews, with the approval of your heirs.
One other thing to keep in mind is that if you are using pseudonyms to keep separate publishing presences in different genres and you get big in one genre, the publishers and booksellers are likely to out you in the other genres so they can trade in on that popular name. So as a way to hide, pseudonyms don't work that beautifully anymore. You could try to do a Stephen King. Wanting to write slightly different thriller/horror stories and curious to see if he could pull off a ruse, King invented Richard Bachman and even got a friend to pose for the author photo and do some promotion as Richard Bachman. He was eventually outed though by zealous fans, and now his publishers happily put out the titles as "Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman."
March 30th, 2003, 12:51 AM
I think one of the greatest feelings in the world would be to go to a bookstore and see my name on a book for sale. Nope, no pseudonyms for me.
March 30th, 2003, 01:44 AM
Richard Bachman was a good pseudonym. Robert Jordan is probably the best though.
I have a friend who only writes for fun who's made one up. His mother also thinks it's a good idea to protect your privacy. Personally, I wouldn't feel right seeing a fake name on a novel I'd written and had published. I am who I am and that's what I want readers to see.
Any thoughts on using your middle initial to make you sound more professional or whatever?
March 30th, 2003, 02:05 AM
I don't like middle names and never use my own, it's not that i don't like my middle name, I just don't see the point in it. And to be entirely honest I think people who use their middle initial sound a bit pompous.:D
However writing is probably the one area where you can pull this off!
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