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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Both of these things have been advocated on KB. Several authors seem to be selling dozens of titles under three or four names.

I've been blogging for a while and have fans for my paranormal YA on FB and Goodreads. I'm going to release a book for younger kids (MG) in May, what are the pros and cons of setting up a pseudonym, versus using the little following I have?
 

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You use your legal name on all banking/tax/financial info when you set up your accounts with publishers so money should be coming to your legal name. I write under a pen name but am paid under my legal name.

Some writers want to spread out into many genres, so it makes sense to use different pen names. Some writers stick with one genre. I guess I don't see the issue as VERSUS. I see it as part of your plan, and every writer needs to decide what works best for them.
 

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Melisse_Aires said:
You use your legal name on all banking/tax/financial info when you set up your accounts with publishers so money should be coming to your legal name. I write under a pen name but am paid under my legal name.

Some writers want to spread out into many genres, so it makes sense to use different pen names. Some writers stick with one genre. I guess I don't see the issue as VERSUS. I see it as part of your plan, and every writer needs to decide what works best for them.
I submitted a short story to a magazine in Dubai and they published it and sent me a cheque before I had a chance to give them any banking details ::).
 

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Well, if you use a pen name (I use two) you should be building a brand for it.  I don't see how there's any versus in the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I guess I can refine the question a bit. Building a brand takes time, and effort. Building it two, or three times, takes two or three times the work, which I could use writing. Starting a second name loses the following I've generated with the first.

So, time lost, and following lost. Are the losses worth the benefits, that's the versus. Is it worth it?
 

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Using a pen name was one of my biggest mistakes. I finally ditched the pen name and pulled everything back under my name last month. It divided my fan base. U have to be ready to brand both names if u want it to work better. I wrote YA and got the pen name for NA. Most crossed over after they realized it was me. For MG, I wouldn't do it. It seems like unnecessary work.
 

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Jan Hurst-Nicholson said:
I submitted a short story to a magazine in Dubai and they published it and sent me a cheque before I had a chance to give them any banking details ::).
There's a trick to this. You submit under your own name, but on the cover page of the story you put 'by Pen Name'.
 

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From what I understand, you should never submit to trads or agents or mags without telling your real name AND your pen name.

Anyway, I have divided into two pairs of brands. One is the pair here, Deanna Roy and DD Roy, which does my literary, women's fiction, and middle grade.

My other pair does humor on controversial topics, and erotica. I have web sites for all and a twitter for each pair, and mailing lists for each pair.

I find I go through stages where I concentrate on one pair or the other. It's not been hard, and actually very fun. The people who friend me as Deanna are VERY DIFFERENT from the ones who friend me for my other pair. I NEVER mix up the two feeds--it's like Jekyl and Hyde!

I can only write so many hours a day. The rest is marketing and branding and planning. I do this full-time, though. It might not work so well for someone with a full-time job as well.
 

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MG and YA aren't separated by enough distance that I think it matters, unless you feel your YA content is just way too inappropriate. The best cases for a pen name I ever see on the boards are when an author spans either radically different age groups (e.g., children's books vs. chick lit) or publishes both erotica and non-erotica. However there's also a case to be made for someone well-established in a genre writing under a different pen name when branching out into something else, like how Nora Roberts writes mysteries as J. D. Robb. To me it seems like your YA stuff would have to contain enough questionable content to push it to the very edge of that genre, in order to justify a pen name for an MG/YA split. Using multiple names seems like a lot more trouble than it's worth.
 

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Shayne said:
There's a trick to this. You submit under your own name, but on the cover page of the story you put 'by Pen Name'.
I did that, but I don't think the accounts dept. know the difference ::)
 

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In the old days of traditional publishing they didn't want a prolific author to put out more than a few books a year because of the publisher printing/promotion resources and the old "writing slow = higher quality" mantra. The publisher knew that JDRobb was Nora and gave the second brand the same marketing budget and store shelf placement so not a problem for the limited stable of authors.
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Today having more pen names dilutes your brand unless you have a specific reason (hard core erotica probably). An author can use the same name but change the font to signify a different genre. That's what I did for my two lines that you can see in my sig vvv.
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Not having used any pen names .. does Amazon pull all your author ranks together? If so that would make the pen name less of an issue or more of an issue if the pen name is a complete start up unknown. I almost wrote a short story to publish under a pen name and experiment but haven't.
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I can speak to this as I use my real name and two pen names. My reasoning for this is because I'm writing in three separate genres, and I was worried about, say, fans of my chicklit/women's fiction picking up my YA dystopian and wondering what the heck was going on.

The huge downside I see to it is that readers who love one of your books may have trouble finding your pen name work. I'm very public about the fact that I use pen names because of this. All of my books on Amazon have both my real name and pen name (if I'm using it) listed on the author line.

I think that, as with anything, YMMV.
 

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jvin248 said:
Today having more pen names dilutes your brand

Not having used any pen names .. does Amazon pull all your author ranks together?
See, I feel NOT having pen names dilutes my brand. As I get more and more books up (I'm up to 15), I find it much easier to keep my brands separate and easier for fans to find other books in the brand, rather than just the other books under my name. My MG readers are simply not the same as my Women's Fiction, and I don't want them to have to dig through books they aren't interested in in the also-boughts.

Amazon does not put all your author ranks together, but this is where it gets sweet. If you DO have a run away hit and want it to cross over, all you do is add your pen name as a co-author to your read name, and then your ranks DO help both brands.
 

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Shayne said:
There's a trick to this. You submit under your own name, but on the cover page of the story you put 'by Pen Name'.
But won't the book (by Pen Name) show up on Amazon (and other places) with the "About The Author" page of the non-pen name (assuming you're writing under both real and pen names)? I would think that would be confusing to readers that don't realize there may be a pen name involved. And then people like my mom would see stuff I wrote that I don't want her to see. :eek:

I like the co-author idea listed above.
 

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Shel Silverstein writes children's books and naughty adult poetry.
George RR Martin writes children's books and Adult Fantasy (definitely not kid friendly)
C.S. Lewis wrote children's books and very deep theological books.

I think most readers are intelligent enouph to understand differences in genre, if not…
 

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jdfield said:
I guess I can refine the question a bit. Building a brand takes time, and effort. Building it two, or three times, takes two or three times the work, which I could use writing. Starting a second name loses the following I've generated with the first.

So, time lost, and following lost. Are the losses worth the benefits, that's the versus. Is it worth it?
It depends. First off, if your current following isn't a following for the other books, then you're not losing anything, you still have to build the customers for that series of books. If there might be some crossover and those that cross aren't likely to be offended, then you probably don't need a pen name.

If, however, you WANT a pen name, there's no reason not to do it and it isn't that difficult to set up or start building. There can be value in a name that suits the genre or that adds to the branding too.

On the other hand, if your current customers would HATE your new books, you might lose them for your current books AND your new books by confusing them with something that they're not expecting.

Only you can decide what is "worth it". Likewise, only you can decide how much energy you put into brand building versus writing time.
 

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I haven't made a full decision yet on a pen name, but because my last name is Hussain, I wonder how many sales I missed because of the name?
 

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Fahid said:
I haven't made a full decision yet on a pen name, but because my last name is Hussain, I wonder how many sales I missed because of the name?
I would say-pick a pen name.

My real name is hard to spell-even family members get it wrong. It's so much easier to operate under a simple pen name. Do you have a middle or different family name you can use?
 
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