Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Nom de Plume



As a writer I am constantly selling myself. Not literally mind you, though becoming a fetish escort for Devotees may actually pay better. I am trying to convince you that you should be interested enough in what I have to say and how I say it that you want to buy whatever story I am currently shilling, that ‘you’ is constantly  changing.


For some this is sexy, for me it is a way to get around.

Sometimes my target is an editor, sometimes it is direct to readers, and sometimes it is another project that has my attention.  In all this selling of myself and creating a (I shudder as I hate this phrase) brand I often come across writers asking whether or not they should use a pen name. 

My stock answer was that authors use them for various reasons but they are not for me, I wanted all the credit and ridicule I was do.  But then I decided to do something a little different. I decided to try a pen name. It was for a genre I had never thought of writing (which I will not share here, and no I am not sharing the name either) and I figured it would help hide my name and gender and anything else that may cause others to discriminate against me writing in one particular genre. 

It was a mistake. Not the taking of a pen name. But trying to craft and create TWO careers. Twice the social media output, twice the blogging, twice the writing.  I was sick of it after four weeks and I had barely completed any of the tasks I set out to do. 

Having a second name to write under is easier and harder for established authors. Rowling and King don’t have to go out and look for an audience for the books that are published under their name, so they can take time to craft an identity with their pen name. 

And it makes sense to do so. Rowling wrote a mystery book a while back under a pen name, because she didn’t want people to buy and judge it either to lightly or too harshly based on previous work. That is why it was such a shame when her nom de plume was exposed. 

Fans (and I say this rabid fan of so many things) can be a blessing and a curse. We get mad when the creators of content that we love go far afield, and we get angry when the content get stale and repetitive, all while refusing to admit that we the fans may in fact be part of the problem. 

All this boils down to me saying I think pen names are a great idea, but only at the beginning of a writing career as the only name you write under or at later date when you have a rabid fan base to please/anger. 

But if you are at the beginning of your career why bother?  Now is the time to be plastic! Explore every genre! Mash genres together! Write that inhuman science fiction erotica that a friend in college challenged you to write so long ago! 

Speaking of which I have to write that erotica still, but how do you describe an amorphous green blob and the man it loves as an erotica?