1. Steve89
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    Steve89 Member

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    Pen Names

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Steve89, Sep 24, 2012.

    Hello guys, I have been writing a crime/thriller for the past year and am hoping to publish it in the near future. However, I've started to plan my next novel and it is going to be a YA fantasy novel.

    I was thinking of using a pen name for one of them as I don't want people to read my crime novel and then be put off by my next novel ( if I even manage to get either of them published).

    I was wondering what you think of pen names and if you have any advice or experience of using one yourselves.

    Thanks.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    pen names are often used by writers of mutiple genres...

    i used them for two reasons... first, on a novel for which i did not want it known that the author was a woman, for marketing purposes... and then for a series of x-rated short stories, as the genre was so far removed from my other works... all the rest was written under my own name...
     
  3. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    I only write non-fiction under my legal name. Because I typically write within the same genre (for fiction) I use the same pen name (James Olivieri).
     
  4. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen it said in other threads that self-publishing (including self-publishing of free ebooks) could damage someone's credibility later on. If someone self-published under a pen name, and didn't include their real name in the book, then wouldn't this prevent credibility loss due to amateur self-published works?
     
  5. TheStarChild
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    TheStarChild Member

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    I would worry about getting published first. IF you get published, THEN you can worry about a pen name. It's kind of like a little leaguer worrying about what his big league contract will look like.
     
  6. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not worried about these things, but there has been advice posted here saying that publishing in the wrong places may hurt someone's future career. If a pen-name is used, then surely that avoids any such risk. Whether it's a big enough risk to be worth worrying about for many of us, or not.
     
  7. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Self-publishing, in and of itself, should not hurt anything first of all. There are numerous authors who started out self-publishing and went on to trade publication. I'm not saying that you should include crap publications in your credentials, but the way you describe this, you make it sound like the publisher is going to dredge the depths of amazon for everything you published to use it against you.

    Now, if they do and they uncover an extremist manifesto, I'd say you have a legitimate cause for concern. But the fact that your writing may not be at the same level as later in your career? By that logic you should never publish a short story in your college literary journal because, at age 40, it will ruin your credibility (the stuff I wrote as an undergrad was rubbish and was published by student editors who also wrote rubbish).

    TheStarChild is correct in saying this is a bit of thinking too far ahead. I know of at least two well regarded lit agents who enthusiastically work with previously self-published authors.

    Now, if you publish through a vanity press, that can kill your credibility. I'm talking trying to claim Tate Publishing as a credit, not self-publishing, which is a different animal.

    Lesson summary: if the publisher doesn't want to be associated with your earlier work, then they can ask you to publish under a pen name. If whatever you published was really objectionable and they want no part of you, then that can happen no matter where the prior work was published.

    Bonus lesson summary: Always use a pseudonym for your extremist manifesto.
     
  8. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    It wasn't me saying that self-publishing can actually hurt [an author], I was thinking about advice on other threads in this forum. If self-publishing isn't a problem at all for a literary career (which I'm not planning on following, I'm just a nosey person), then my question is moot.
     
  9. MindTheGap
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    MindTheGap Member

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    I go by my middle name online (mainly because I hate my first name but also it feels a little but more anonymous to me) so I'll likely use it for a pen name, it's just a last name I would need to consider, as my last name is a bit unique and I'd rather not have everyone I know put two and two together and see I'm the author (I have some very judgmental and very stuck-up relatives who would not approve and I'd rather not listen to them moan and groan).
     

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