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Hi all! I'm debating whether I should launch a pen name and I'd love some advice!

Some background: I've been published traditionally for nearly 8 years with 13 books under my real name. All romantic suspense/ military romance. Back when I was a baby author, I attempted to self-publish a book that I thought at the time was a paranormal romance. Since there's generally a lot of crossover between RS and paranormal, I also published it under my own name—and it flopped. Hard. So hard, in fact, that scared me away from self-publishing for YEARS.

Fast forward to now. I'm older and wiser—well, definitely older. The wiser part is debatable—and I'm self-pubbing RS. I pulled down the paranormal after I realized that it wasn't a paranormal at all. It's straight-up gothic romance. I marketed it completely wrong the first time around. So now that I'm seeing a surge in gothic romances, I decided to re-edit and re-cover it to fit the genre, but I'm wondering if I should release it under my name (which is already known for military romantic suspense) or create a pen name. If I did have a pen name, I wouldn't keep it a secret from my current readers. I'd even connect my websites. I guess a new pen name would just be more of a signal to my readers that this isn't like the other things I write.

Ugh, but the thought of "starting from scratch" with a new name is daunting. I don't know. Any advice?
 

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I'm leaning on the side of you not using a pen name. You're right about the "starting from scratch" problem in branding and, although the genres are definitely different, there is a romance cross over here. And you have a nice backlog of books.

But only you really know your stuff to decide.
 

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I can only say what I would do if it were me.

I would not use another name. But I would make it clear in my packaging--blurb, cover, typography--that it's clearly a different sub-genre of romance. And have a drop down menu on my website where I list my books. Also list them by sub-genre. That way everything is nice a clear to readers. Although there will still be readers too dense to see what is going on, and there is nothing we can do about them.  ::)
 

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I would use a pen name but I use lots of them. The question for me boils down to whether readers will crossover or not. Every single book you write is a potential introduction to that name for a reader so every book needs to be on brand IMO. So the question is: Is your brand military romantic suspense? Or is it broader than that? How do you market yourself?

You can always do the slight variation pen name where it's A.R. Author and Anna Author, for example. And it's not like you're hiding the two names so those who like both will give you a chance anyway.
 
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