Noms de plume. Pen names. Literary doubles. Aliases. Stage names. Handles. Appropriately, pseudonyms go by many names, themselves. theWhat are they? Why do people use them? Should you use one (or more)? Today, Brian and Rekka break down the pseudonym discussion into easily digestible chunks.
What are pseudonyms?
- Pseudonyms are part time names that do not replace your legal orthonym
- Adopted to mask an identity (either to hide that identity, evade legal repercussions, create distinctions from other names, or to fit in with peers in that realm of use)
- Notable pseudonyms: Richard Bachman, James S. A. Corey, George Sand, J. K. Rowling, Marion Zimmer Bradley (allonym), R. J. Theodore (hey that person sounds amazing!)
What goes into the decision to use them?
- Keeping your genre work separated by pen names to control your also-boughts on Amazon
- Teaching your readers what to expect from you (and not disappointing that expectation)
- If you change your pen name, you are a ‘debut author’ again
What are the pros and cons of using a nom de plume?
- If you have spent the time to develop your voice, Brian suggests that you can write in any genre under one name and people who will enjoy your voice and style will enjoy all your titles
- The name can change at any point before the book publishes unless it’s tied directly into the book (Lemony Snicket)
- Brian senses overt “thumbing your nose” with comedic/cheeky pseudonyms where the audience might not respond well to that or where it contradicts the tone of your writing
- If your writing takes off, and you have a throwaway pseudonym, you have to live with that
- In this “information age” (get off my lawn!), it’s not likely you can hide your true identity behind a pseudonym
- If you write under multiple pen names, you’ll have to handle the entire internet marketing sphere for each one as a separate entity
- If you’re relying on distribution algorithms to boost your books when you release new titles, going back and forth between pen names may break up your natural rank momentum
- Rekka’s book, FLOTSAM (written under the name R J Theodore) is available via a price promotion at $1.99 for just another day or two (thanks, Parvus!).
- Octopi – proof that the vernacular dictates language
- What’s your favorite pseudonym?
- Did we miss anything you wanted to know about pen names?
- Any other topic suggestions for future episodes?
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Member rewards include an monthly “ramble cast” in which Brian and Rekka sit down to discuss a specific movie (and then very probably veer directly off-course). Trimmed from today’s episode were 10 minutes of bonus audio that patrons will hear.