Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why Use A Pseudonym?

Sometimes a writer decides to publish a book under a pen name. One of those writers is best-selling author Mary Connealy. After reading another post Mary wrote, I asked her to repeat her own humorous take on why a writer might want to take this step.

"You publish your historicals under Mary Connealy and your mystery novels under the name Mary Nealy. Besides switching genres, what other reasons might a writer choose to use a pseudonym?" - Sandy

Mary: Hi, Sandy. To answer this question I wrote:

The top ten reasons you might want to publish 
under a pseudonym

10) You write romance and your name isn't romantic. Gertrude Hogg might wanta think about a pseudonym. (Please, Dear Lord God in Heaven don't let any readers of this blog be named Gertrude Hogg) Part 2 of #10, related, because your name is possibly stupid. So Myrtle, you really married a guy named Snarfblatt? Wow, that’s so wonderful. You must be MADLY in love. Pick a pseudonym, sweetie.

9) You just got a contract for erotica and you don't want your mother to find out. (You should never publish ANYTHING your mother can't find out about. That ought to be a law.)

8) Your name is Nora and you’re married to the love of your life, William Roberts. Give up. Your name is never gonna come up first in a Google search. NEVER

7) Your name is twistable into something that sounds like a porn site. Ask my friend Carol Cox about that one. And no, she didn’t change her name, but it’s been interesting at time.

6) You work somewhere at a day job where your privacy is important. Though I suspect any effort you make to write with true anonymity is a failed effort.

5) To hide your gender. See Leigh Greenwood and Alex Kava on this one. Yes their gender is out now but not at first. In fact I met Leigh Greenwood, a very successful romance novelist, at RWA and he said he’d come out of the closet and admitted he was a man several books ago.

4) Because you’re prolific. And you want to write more books a year than your publisher will let you.

3) Because your name is generic. Ask my sister Linda Swenson about this one. A lovely name and a lovely woman. But go google her name. It didn’t even come up. I got ‘narrow search’ instead of hits.

2) Your name is impossible to spell. Hello Mary Connealy. HOWEVER, the upside of an odd name is that the website for your name is most likely not taken. AND I picked Mary Nealy but it was by no means my first choice. I found naming myself surprisingly embarrassing.

1) You are changing genres. Yes, if you’re going from western romance to romantic thrillers you probably ought to warn your readers. Same goes for romance to women’s fiction. And Christian fiction to Vampires.

Go see the suspenseful side of ME.
And for the 'regular' Mary Connealy who writes romantic comedy with cowboys, I'm out there too.

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. Her newest book is in bookstores now. Swept Away, book #1 in the brand new Trouble in Texas series. She is the author of bestselling Kincaid Brides Series: Out of Control, In Too Deep, Over the Edge, also, Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy and Sophie's Daughters Trilogy. Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters and two spectacular grandchildren.

So what about you? Have you ever considered using a pen name? What made you decide for or against doing so?