Pen name or not to pen name


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  1. #1

    Pen name or not to pen name

    Hi All,

    I have a few books on Amazon and they are mostly middle grade or lower reading level. They are adventure science fictions, and illustrated children's books, I've released everything so far in my name, but I've written three new novels that are what I'd call PG-13 and another one that is definitely R rated.

    Should I release those under a pen name?

    My thoughts of an advantage would be disassociation of the very different categories; Con splitting my advertising and basically starting over on branding. Or, should I just go with it and let the people read the descriptions and keep all my eggs in one basket?

    Thoughts?

    Thanks
    Lowell

  2. #2
    This one is entirely up to you. But authors do work with multiple pen names, so it's not unusual. There'll always be pros and cons (marketing from scratch under a new name, do you tie the two pen names on a website, etc), so just go with how well you can/can't handle the shift into a new pen name. I use a pen name for my fiction, but a different one for my poetry. although I write poetry less and less nowadays, and I keep the two firmly apart. But there are authors here who use multiple names and tie them together in the likes of the signatures here. So it really is down to you. Let us know what you decide.
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.

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  3. #3
    By all means use a pen name for the R-rated stuff. You need to partition the adult material off from the children's books.

    Also, with the adult material, you may wanna keep that partitioned off from YOUR LIFE.
    Remember that nowadays prospective employers, family, & friends can google you.
    Do you want them finding that?


    Also, a pen name insulates you from the world. It is a buffer that allows you freedom to write as you please. Writing under your own name, you always have to be careful to not cross too many lines.

  4. #4

    Cool Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    By all means use a pen name for the R-rated stuff. You need to partition the adult material off from the children's books.

    Also, with the adult material, you may wanna keep that partitioned off from YOUR LIFE.
    Remember that nowadays prospective employers, family, & friends can google you.
    Do you want them finding that?


    Also, a pen name insulates you from the world. It is a buffer that allows you freedom to write as you please. Writing under your own name, you always have to be careful to not cross too many lines.
    Yes, I was thinking if readers searched my books on Amazon, then my children's books about wholesome issues would be listed right along side a bloody vigilante.
    I suppose that brings up another question; completely unique or an abbreviation, something like J.K. Rowling?

    (Ten Minutes Later.....)

    So,,,,, I guess I'll go with the abbreviation. It should be just enough difference that Amazon won't list the books together.
    Thanks for the Advise; both of you.

  5. #5
    I'm having a similar problem right now. Not quite the same, but most of my published work so far has been in horror and I'm having difficulty selling literary work and it was only when I took the references to my obviously-horror fiction out of the cover letter I found I was able to sell a story to a university lit mag. Might be a coincidence, of course, but I have a feeling it wasn't. Having credits in anthologies with names like 'Blood & Blasphemy' and 'The Twist Of The Knife' isn't necessarily appealing to liberal art-farts, I guess...

    I would probably do the pen name thing, if I were you. Children's fiction is a very sensitive area, for obvious reasons. Parents will be buying the books and parents tend to be psychos when it comes to any possible unsavory content that might reach Sweet Timmy's eyes.

    That being said, is the 'definitely R rated' book something that would be obviously provocative? I mean, Saving Private Ryan is R rated and it's by Spielberg who also makes children's movies. You can keep it under your name but consider what is making it R rated? If it's a steamy romance or something with drugs or graphic violence, that's obviously different than a historical or a thriller that just happens to be an adult read.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I'm having a similar problem right now. Not quite the same, but most of my published work so far has been in horror and I'm having difficulty selling literary work and it was only when I took the references to my obviously-horror fiction out of the cover letter I found I was able to sell a story to a university lit mag. Might be a coincidence, of course, but I have a feeling it wasn't. Having credits in anthologies with names like 'Blood & Blasphemy' and 'The Twist Of The Knife' isn't necessarily appealing to liberal art-farts, I guess...

    I would probably do the pen name thing, if I were you. Children's fiction is a very sensitive area, for obvious reasons. Parents will be buying the books and parents tend to be psychos when it comes to any possible unsavory content that might reach Sweet Timmy's eyes.

    That being said, is the 'definitely R rated' book something that would be obviously provocative? I mean, Saving Private Ryan is R rated and it's by Spielberg who also makes children's movies. You can keep it under your name but consider what is making it R rated? If it's a steamy romance or something with drugs or graphic violence, that's obviously different than a historical or a thriller that just happens to be an adult read.
    My R rated one is for violence and sexual content. And I agree that the children’s books need separation. I wish now I’d published the children’s books with some kind of Whimsical author name instead of my name, but oh well.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by nankipoot View Post
    My R rated one is for violence and sexual content. And I agree that the children’s books need separation. I wish now I’d published the children’s books with some kind of Whimsical author name instead of my name, but oh well.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    But, like, is that violent/sexual content really obvious from the title and synopsis? Parents vetting authors are unlikely to buy your books to check, if anything they're just going to have a quick look. I'm just trying to get a sense of whether they're obviously controversial or in questionable taste or if they're just standard thrillers or whatever. What are the covers like? What are the titles? What genre are they? Does the amazon blurb mention the adult content or is it simply included as part of an otherwise socially acceptable plot?
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  8. #8
    The other nice thing about pen names is that you can use something befitting of the type of writing you do.
    I use the Ralph Rotten brand name for crass and pulpy work.
    When a potential reader sees Ralph Rotten on the cover, they get a clear idea that this is not literature.
    Well, all except for some troll named Dr.Gonzo.
    He left a review that he thought my content was too racy...even though his avatar is a character from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas...which was a movie centered on a suitcase full of drugs.

    What a troll that anus is:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/am..._gw_tr?ie=UTF8

  9. #9
    I just want to thank you for this post and for all the entries.
    It was something I was asking myself and I found some good suggestions.

    I do not have a problem with separating my works as I haven't seen anything published yet. I do write different things though.
    I was pondering about the pen name. My real name is a simple one and short, the choice of a pen counterpart is a pure stylish/artistic one.

    I sometimes encounter authors with very lengthy names. To go back to them I always need to google up something. It recently happened when I was suggesting the Mars Trilogy of Kim Stanley Robinson to a friend. I just couldn't come up with his name. I was keep thinking of Robert Louis Stevenson!
    Other times the names are short (or of acceptable length) but peculiar. I still need to learn how to spell Andrey Sapkovski without sneak peek Google.

    How much do you think a name affect the book? I don't mean the fame of a name, as now everything that comes out branded J.K.Rowling is good. I mean, the name itself.
    I don't think I give much importance to it. Do you think others do? (kind of name, nationality)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomkat View Post
    How much do you think a name affect the book? I don't mean the fame of a name, as now everything that comes out branded J.K.Rowling is good. I mean, the name itself.
    I don't think I give much importance to it. Do you think others do? (kind of name, nationality)
    It can be important but also a touchy subject for readers! The argument over men writing better sci-fi is still out there, so is how gay literature is best written by gay authors. Some female authors have used male pseudonyms to cover up their gender. Readers don't like this approach, or more they don't like it when the author also makes out that they are male away from writing (known as catfishing). I've seen a few cases like that and it raises my hackles. Now me, I'm Jack, and I use Jack in my pen name. Most go for male there, but I'm a female Jack. My bio uses feminine pronouns to show I''m female. Despite that I still get called 'sir', or because I write BDSM too, 'Master' or Dom. When I went part real, part pseudonym name, I had no idea the confusion it would cause: everyone in my life knows me as Jack and knows I'm female, lol. So it was an eye-opener on that score when it came to publishing. So yeah, whatever name you choose can sometimes affect the book, or most definitely the reader!
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.

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