Should I use a pen name?

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by DarkWoods, Jan 6, 2020.

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  1. DarkWoods

    DarkWoods Member

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    Ah, ah very funny. What did you do to convince the translator that you were the author?

    Thanks for giving me an opposite view. I really appreciate.

    Thanks. This is one of the many reasons I was thinking for using a pen name. The most important one, for me, is that I am an introvert and I am very careful about what appears on the web under my name. I don't like people searching for me ... I am not on any social media for this reason. People can only join me by email, phone or in person.
     
  2. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    I didn’t. I had to go back to the Amazon book and write a sub title, This book was written under a pen name. I also changed the blurb to detail a correction to the confusion. I then resorted to Babelcube, and the translator did a terrible job, so now I’m paying a translator but I think the Babelcube translator will still reap any rewards from the corrected version. The saga continues.
     
  3. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    I'm considering pseudonyms for marketing / branding reasons, and am getting mixed advice on whether this makes it easier or more difficult.

    Specifically, using social media. Most of the agents and publishers whose advice I have read or heard face to face describe a high priority for social media presence. My manuscripts aren't ready to sell yet, but I've been able to participate in some 'pitching' workshops offered in my local writers' conferences. Pretty much without exception, they ask something like, "how many platforms are you on?" and "ok, how many followers?" When I say none, and none, they are pretty frank, telling me I will have to do something about this if I want to be a professional writer.

    I have been trying to develop a coherent and practical social media plan that's based on pseudonyms, and I'm stumped.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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  4. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    I am in the same situation. I am often mistaken for a technophobe because I don't have social media. The reality is that I just lean toward personal privacy.

    However, I'm willing to build myself a strategy to give myself a more professional face when pitching to agents/publishers for traditional. And from what I can tell, social media's even *more* important if I want to self publish and make an actual living at it.

    I've struggled to conceptualize what it would look like to have enough social media presence to satisfy gatekeepers and/or have a self publishing career, and it's still a work in progress.

    The advice I get from colleagues in my writing group who have some success in writing as a career is to "just be authentic" on social media. But since I am not personally OK with sharing at all, by definition everything I do on social media is contrived. I'm kinda stuck.

    And add to that, the branding challenge associated with juggling one or more pseudonyms, I don't have a good model of what a successful social media presence operation would look like.
     
  5. DarkWoods

    DarkWoods Member

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    I read a few books from different authors and they all say the opposite. In his books "Deep Work" and "Digital Minimalism" Cal Newport say that social media are a waste of your time. It just disturb your deep work. And I agree that you should focus 100% on writing and editing and forget about social media.

    Author James Scott Bell says the same. In one of his book about marketing, he says that the ROI (return on investment) of social media is almost nonexistant when you want to sell books.

    For me, I am not on social media and I am not interested to go back there. I have already been on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest and I don't see any value. I think you would be way better with an email list. Once you get your readers email, they are yours. It's not the case with asocial media.
     
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  6. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    This is where I've seen mixed advice, and there may be specific context for Bell's advice. SM is obviously not a discovery vector, but especially for established authors, and especially for self published, it's a solid sales channel.

    Becca Syme has done some analyses with her clients - she has supported something like 50k authors so far - and she has concluded there's a sweet spot for ROI on social media somewhere in the sub one hour per week time investment. I think this is doable.

    And beyond their advice, whether it's true about ROI or not, agents and publishers seem to care, and I don't want to close the door to conventional publishing by giving off a vibe that I'm not going to be professional, that I'm going to be a handful as a square peg.


    I don't see value in SM as a consumer, but my impression from interactions with people in the industry is that at least some minimum threshold of use is required to be regarded as serious about being a professional author here in 2020. My model so far is just fire-and-forget, no reading, no replying &c. In principle, I think this is workable. For some of my market forays, I've limited it to Instagram, which is not a very chatty SM platform and lends itself to one-way communication.

    I also intend to build an email list, I think this is the #1 marketing platform for the forseeable future. And websites, those are not a problem.

    But my challenge at this point is about wrangling multiple pseudonyms. I haven't seen anybody explain how they are making this work with social media, and I'm kinda stumped.
     
  7. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I have multiple pseudonyms and this is the closest thing I get to using social media. I used to use social media, but found it really wasn't worth my time. I don't self publish, so getting a presence isn't really necessary to gain traction in any marketplace. Most of what I've been selling lately has also been short stories to magazines and whatnot, so me flogging that I have something in there isn't really going to affect what I make from that sale by any metric. The predominant reason I use pseudonyms is for anonymity. By and large, readers have a difficult time differentiating between the writer and what they've written, so I've found that not having my name on some transgender erotica or supernatural horror that I've written and sold solely to put fuel in my gas tank or food on the table is the easiest way to keep said stories from causing complications in my personal life. The more social media outlets I maintain under those pseudonyms, the more trails there are for people to follow back to my legal identity, and that would kind of run counter to my whole reason for having pseudonyms in the first place.
     
  8. Cephus

    Cephus Senior Member

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    Agreed. My professional social media accounts exist only so that I can communicate with my fans. My professional accounts have no political, social, or any other kind of opinions, period. They exist as a communication point, nothing else and there is never a connection between my professional accounts and anything I do as an individual. I also don't use major social media platforms outside of a professional account. I don't do Facebook, Instagram or anything else. I deleted my Twitter account years ago. I find every single one of these platforms to not only be a complete waste of my time, but to be filled with utter idiots not worth spending any energy on.

    Trust me, if I didn't have to have some kind of public face for my writing, I wouldn't at all.
     
  9. HTau Atmenmeer

    HTau Atmenmeer New Member

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    I want to use a pseudonym because I want to write erotica, because I do not want anyone I know reading what I have written. I want to feel more comfortable about it first then I might be able to go public with it under my own name. I don't want my kids or my family to read what I have written or discuss it. I have only shown my work to my better half so far.
     
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  10. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Just curious (I don't know the answer to this.) Where do 'blogs' fit in, when it comes to social media, in the eyes of your agents and publishers?

    Unlike social media like Twitter and Facebook, I believe you can create a blog under a fictional name, and maintain it as such. That might be something to explore?

    I totally hear your concerns. Social media is relatively 'new,' and the 'requirement' to use it does seem to exclude writers who don't want everything about themselves plastered all over the universe. I think that's a perfectly valid stance. Maybe a lively, readable blog, using your pseudonym and connected only to your writing, would be a compromise solution.
     
  11. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Active Member

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    You can do that with Twitface as well. On Facebook, you can create a business page under any name, and there's no need to use your real name, and on Twitter, you just use a handle, which is like a username here. Twitter isn't really a good platform for publicity though - it's a VERY toxic environment.
     
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  12. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ha ha! Twitface? That sounds like an insult you'd shout out a car window at a bad driver. "Hey, ya twitface, get outta my road."

    Yes, the Facebook option, using a business name, is certainly something I've seen a lot.
     
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  13. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    that depends largely on who you follow and who follows you - my experience is that it is significantly less toxic than facebook.

    With the caveat that on twitter women, or indeed anyone who uses a pretty female in their avatar, are likely to get DMs and follows from dodgy dudes... just delete and block
     
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  14. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master

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    As a pretty lady: You'll run into dodgy dudes anywhere on social media. I limited who could send me friend requests and I still ended up having guys try to chat me up on the Words with Friends app. I'm on Twitter and so far I'm having a decent experience though. It probably helps I am judiciously using the 'Unfollow' button when I see stuff on my feed I don't like.
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    On one occasion I was using one of my book covers which featured a pretty girl, as a twitter avatar.... way too many dick pics (I mean one is too many but seriously way more than that)

    You'd have thought that my name would suggest that I'm a guy, but apparently not... went back to using my headshot as an avatar and these days I only get supposedly female accounts asking to see my cock instead. (delete and ban, unless I'm in the mood to fuck them about in which case they get a picture of my big black cock... cedric, he's an Orpington rooster)
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  16. HTau Atmenmeer

    HTau Atmenmeer New Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. HTau Atmenmeer

    HTau Atmenmeer New Member

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    I completely understand and agree with this. I am not a technophobe, one my ex jobs was as a computer programmer. But I think social media is evil in general and Facebook and Twitter in particular. Facebook a proven criminal selling personal information and lying about it. Twitter encouraging hate fests. Like when cars were new and people drove them before driving rules were created and implemented. Furthermore I really don't want my personal life involved in my sex writing. Cringy.
     
  18. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    that's why people use an author page instead of a personal profile.

    Incidentally FB are not proven criminals - they were investigated for improper data security which is a civil offence not a criminal one, also there was no allegation that they were selling data, the $5bn fine was because they discovered that cambridge analytica were misusing users data in 2015 but did not disclose the misuse until 2018

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/24/facebook-to-pay-5bn-fine-as-regulator-files-cambridge-analytica-complaint

    Using terms like evil and criminal incorrectly ads little to the debate, and could be held to be defamatory
     
  19. HTau Atmenmeer

    HTau Atmenmeer New Member

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    I knew I would get slated for this. I agree with your criticism of my OTT terms. I apologise. I followed the Analytica thing. I remember the video of Zuckerberg defending himself as a moral being, as a father. I cannot believe him. You can't be at the same time the cleverest person in the world and totally unaware and naive about what your own company is doing. I am angry with them for driving people nuts with their platforms and forcing the rest of us to follow - who can run anything commercial without FaceTwit nowadays - and driving our kids up the wall as well. I won't say any more, except to apologise. I agree that my anger is unwanted.
     
  20. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Active Member

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    I managed to get into an argument with Duncan Bannatyne over nothing apart from me pointing out that police don't always have the option of shooting someone in the head, so perhaps my view is coloured.
     
  21. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master

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    And that's where my use of a pen name helps me. I have firmly decided I am not gonna get into anything controversial in my public 'persona', which having a pen name helps me to do. A 'I am not showing opinions under this name' type deal, lol.
     
  22. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Good luck with that. One of the things that got me the most hate mail in another venue was an offhand remark about how pineapple is a legitimate topping for pizza.
     
  23. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Active Member

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    Heretic!
     
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  24. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master

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    Oh my gosh. People, why?!

    Thanks for the well-wishes. I know I'm gonna need 'em, lol.
     
  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Because

    I used to be a mod on a canal boat forum and one of the most vicious flame wars we ever had resulted from a dispute about whether pump out toilets were better than cassettes... when the smoke cleared we'd perma banned two and suspended another five.

    Some people would argue in an empty room - subject no object
     

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