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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm working on a YA novella set in an alternate Venice with magic about a young glass-maker. Just today the thought occurred to me that for YA I might want to consider a pen name. A lot of my stuff is fairly tame, but Yseult has some pretty graphic sex scenes and violent battles scenes. Some of the stories in my most recent SF collection are pretty violent and dark as well.

The disadvantage of a pen name would be that I couldn't advertise with awards or nominations for Nestvold. And people who like my historical fantasy would have a harder time finding this one.

What does the group mind of the Kindle Boards think?
 

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I have several pen names and I consider them to be a very useful writing tool in general. The two things that make me start up a new name are:

1) Genre
2) Sex

So like fantasy and scifi are very similar but I have my Westerns under a different name. All my Westerns, however, are clean. I have a different name for my historicals with steamy scenes. For me, it's important the reader finds a similar reading experience when they click on the name.
 

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i've used pen names twice and both times I ended up changing back to my real name (one book I just took out the explicit--but not graphic--sex scene to avoid having to alter what I really want to stand for.) It's very very very very hard to build even one name. Imagine trying to duplicate your efforts.

Pen names worked in mainstream publishing back when the system worked (and for established writers who wanted to dodge shoddy sales figures--now you don;t have to because your figures can improve at any moment and aren't set in stone), and pen names worked in indie in 2010 when all you had to do was toss a book up on KDP. I don't think those days are around anymore. Good luck.
 

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scottnicholson said:
i've used pen names twice and both times I ended up changing back to my real name (one book I just took out the explicit--but not graphic--sex scene to avoid having to alter what I really want to stand for.) It's very very very very hard to build even one name. Imagine trying to duplicate your efforts.

Pen names worked in mainstream publishing back when the system worked (and for established writers who wanted to dodge shoddy sales figures--now you don;t have to because your figures can improve at any moment and aren't set in stone), and pen names worked in indie in 2010 when all you had to do was toss a book up on KDP. I don't think those days are around anymore. Good luck.
I agree Scott. Most folks figure out who the author is anyway.
 

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I'd say write it first, and allow yourself the sacred creative space of knowing you may put it out under a new pen name. A little privacy can nurture the flame.

I started with YA and MG, and I wrote an adult novel and put it under another name. I later pulled it under my main name, hoping it would help sales to have the books all together. It did not. So, now I write under different names for different genres.

I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you have a great following now, and they buy your new releases, then do it under the name you already have.

p.s. weird sex is in right now.
 

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You could do what JA Konrath has done. He uses pen names as a way of branding the different stories he writes - crime, horror, and sci-fi, I believe - but is very up front about the fact that the other two names are both still him. I think he originally did it so that fans of his crime series wouldn't read his horror - which was extremely dark and violent - and get POd when it was so much darker than the expected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for their thoughts!

ShayneHellerman said:
You could do what JA Konrath has done. He uses pen names as a way of branding the different stories he writes - crime, horror, and sci-fi, I believe - but is very up front about the fact that the other two names are both still him. I think he originally did it so that fans of his crime series wouldn't read his horror - which was extremely dark and violent - and get POd when it was so much darker than the expected.
Since I've been publishing both science fiction and fantasy in traditional media for a long time now, it's kinda too late for that. :( I think that's part of the reason my alsobots usually only include one or two of my other books -- those closest in genre. Sigh.

Dalya said:
p.s. weird sex is in right now.
Ah, well. I can do graphic (after forcing myself at first and then developing a taste for it *g*), but I don't even know what qualifies as weird sex. :) Although, forcing myself might qualify ...

scottnicholson said:
i've used pen names twice and both times I ended up changing back to my real name (one book I just took out the explicit--but not graphic--sex scene to avoid having to alter what I really want to stand for.) It's very very very very hard to build even one name. Imagine trying to duplicate your efforts.

Pen names worked in mainstream publishing back when the system worked (and for established writers who wanted to dodge shoddy sales figures--now you don;t have to because your figures can improve at any moment and aren't set in stone), and pen names worked in indie in 2010 when all you had to do was toss a book up on KDP. I don't think those days are around anymore. Good luck.
Yes, the difficulty of establishing another name is one of the things that occurred to me. I guess (given some discussions here on KB) I'm a little worried about the wisdom of publishing YA under the same name as very adult material. OTOH, a number of my previously published stories, republished as ebooks, are YA in flavor. But I haven't actively marketed them as such.

Decisions, decisions ...
 

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This is a very interesting topic and the opinions seem to differ between each answer.  In my personal opinion, I think publishing under the same name would be wise considering you already have a following, but make sure to label your adult novels as such in the description.  Don't make it sound like it's too graphic for comfort, but just cover your butt by giving a light warning that the content may not be suitable for anyone under 18.  I like the idea of different names for different genres, but that's not entirely your issue here.  I think J.R. Ward does the same thing to separate her paranormal fiction from realistic fiction, but she is very open about the alternate names on her website.  But I also know authors who do not separate their YA from Erotica.  A good example would be Christin Lovell, who caters to both and just makes sure the reader is warned when the content is more suitable for adults.

Good luck with your decision and let us know the final conclusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't know how much of a "following" I have, but I do get fan mail on occasion. :)

Changing the blurb for Yseult might be the best way to go once "City of Glass" is out. I'm probably not prolific enough for a pen name, when it comes right down to it. 

Thanks for all the feedback, everyone!
 
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