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Author Topic: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!  (Read 390 times)  

Offline Dean Kutzler

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To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« on: December 07, 2017, 04:35:50 AM »
I write thrillers and am going to be publishing my first Space Opera Trilogy 8). I know most of the pros & cons of pen names...but that hasn't helped me to decide. I guess I'm looking for some hardcore insight. I can keep the branding separate with my websites (readers are the most important thing), but for Amazon I would need to write in a pen name in order to separate them. That opens a whole other host of issues aside from the readers. Do I get any benefits keeping it all under one Amazon account as far as the algorithm goes? Will it take into consideration the number of books I have on my shelf and boost me to the sky, or will it separate the marketing push and treat each separately because of the genre shift? Decisions, decisions!   :-\
Space Opera Trilogy: 7%

Valentine\'s Day Surprise, A Roman Mystery: 80%

Jack Elliot Series Book 3: 0%
I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist...
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Offline wearywanderer64

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 05:44:01 AM »
I think it's better to pen name as readers relate a certain name to a certain genre.


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Offline C. Gockel

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 06:59:06 AM »
I think a pen name may not really be necessary in this case. If your space opera will have a lot of action and suspense you could well wind up with crossover.

I think pen names are really only needed when there are big differences in heat level between genres, or large differences in your <em>essential style.</em>

Essential style is what your readers really read you for. It isn't present past tense, first person or third person POV, it's what really grips them. For me, it's emotions. The thing people say about my work is how much it makes them <em>feel.</em> (My sense of humor also gets comments, but feelings are first.)

If your space opera is going to have what makes your books stand out--maybe it is the heart pounding suspense--I would keep them under the same name. You <em>will</em> get cross over readers.


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Offline ShayneRutherford

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 01:18:39 PM »
Do I get any benefits keeping it all under one Amazon account as far as the algorithm goes?

You're only allowed to have one account under your legal name/tax ID. You can do multiple pen names with that account, but you can't open more than one (unless you do it as a business with its own tax ID).
     

Online Arches

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 01:27:28 PM »
I think a pen name may not really be necessary in this case. If your space opera will have a lot of action and suspense you could well wind up with crossover.

I think pen names are really only needed when there are big differences in heat level between genres, or large differences in your <em>essential style.</em>

Essential style is what your readers really read you for. It isn't present past tense, first person or third person POV, it's what really grips them. For me, it's emotions. The thing people say about my work is how much it makes them <em>feel.</em> (My sense of humor also gets comments, but feelings are first.)

If your space opera is going to have what makes your books stand out--maybe it is the heart pounding suspense--I would keep them under the same name. You <em>will</em> get cross over readers.
+1

Online Irelandsgirl1157

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2017, 04:03:47 AM »
I've been writing and publishing for a few years now under various pen names. If I'd decided to write under my own name, I'd still be writing my first book.

With pen names, I think, for me anyway, it takes away this need for perfectionism. If I was using my own name, I think I would have rewritten every line and hired 3 editors...

I self edit and publish a book a month. Not writing under my own name removes the pressure of creating something that's perfect.

More books = More visibility = More sales

I think this is possibly the best writing/publishing advice I've ever heard: "Your best marketing tool is your next book." And for me, pen names are an essential part of that philosophy.

Offline Dean Kutzler

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2017, 06:37:49 AM »
You're only allowed to have one account under your legal name/tax ID. You can do multiple pen names with that account, but you can't open more than one (unless you do it as a business with its own tax ID).
I do have a separate entity and was thinking about it.. Hmm.
Space Opera Trilogy: 7%

Valentine\'s Day Surprise, A Roman Mystery: 80%

Jack Elliot Series Book 3: 0%
I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist...
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Offline Dean Kutzler

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2017, 06:40:28 AM »
I've been writing and publishing for a few years now under various pen names. If I'd decided to write under my own name, I'd still be writing my first book.

With pen names, I think, for me anyway, it takes away this need for perfectionism. If I was using my own name, I think I would have rewritten every line and hired 3 editors...

I self edit and publish a book a month. Not writing under my own name removes the pressure of creating something that's perfect.

More books = More visibility = More sales

I think this is possibly the best writing/publishing advice I've ever heard: "Your best marketing tool is your next book." And for me, pen names are an essential part of that philosophy.
This is just my point. If I do a separate acct/pen name, I'll be starting fresh. Do you have all your pens under one Amazon account?
Space Opera Trilogy: 7%

Valentine\'s Day Surprise, A Roman Mystery: 80%

Jack Elliot Series Book 3: 0%
I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist...
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Online Irelandsgirl1157

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2017, 06:49:37 AM »
This is just my point. If I do a separate acct/pen name, I'll be starting fresh. Do you have all your pens under one Amazon account?
Yes. I've only ever had the one Amazon account. I have 4 active pen names now. I retired a few from when I was just getting started and didn't have a clue what I was doing.

That's another advantage to having a pen name. I can forget about those first ones and move on. If I'd used my own name, I'd be kind of stuck with them. Even if I deleted an early title, it would still come up on Goodreads or Google if you searched for my name. Instead, I just created a new pen name and moved on.

Offline Dean Kutzler

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2017, 06:53:10 AM »
Yes. I've only ever had the one Amazon account. I have 4 active pen names now. I retired a few from when I was just getting started and didn't have a clue what I was doing.

That's another advantage to having a pen name. I can forget about those first ones and move on. If I'd used my own name, I'd be kind of stuck with them. Even if I deleted an early title, it would still come up on Goodreads or Google if you searched for my name. Instead, I just created a new pen name and moved on.

Great point! Thanks! I know what you mean about Goodreads & Google, lol. I have a few short stories that haunt me on there! Not trying to be a weisenheimer, but, have you thought about hiring an editor? I know that no matter how many times I self-edit, there are still mistakes.
Space Opera Trilogy: 7%

Valentine\'s Day Surprise, A Roman Mystery: 80%

Jack Elliot Series Book 3: 0%
I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist...
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Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2017, 07:09:02 AM »
Most of my work is in the sf/f genres, so I haven't felt a need to use a pen name other than for extraordinarily off-genre writing or secret pen name experiments. I don't have the time or interest to maintain social media and related accounts for two people. I barely have time for just one. So I'm content to keep everything largely under one name. I try hard to make sure my different series and genre writings are clearly branded differently, so that a reader won't mistake my urban fantasy for weird western or sci-fi thriller. I trust the reader to figure out that I write multiple genres.

Offline Dean Kutzler

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Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2017, 07:43:56 AM »
I trust the reader to figure out that I write multiple genres.


You're very brave, lol. Not that readers aren't intelligent, but I try to make it as easy as possible for them. Your branding is very clear. ;)
Space Opera Trilogy: 7%

Valentine\'s Day Surprise, A Roman Mystery: 80%

Jack Elliot Series Book 3: 0%
I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist. I write. I repeat. I learn. I twist...
Dean Kutzler | Website | Blog | Reader\'s Group | Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus | Goodreads