Saturday, 21 January 2012

To pseudonym or not to pseudonym

A rose by any other name. Is it a viable idea to create a pseudonym for your writing. What will it achieve?
Quite a few authors have had a writing name over the years but has it made a difference to their career?
If you are a definite genre writer the other name can be helpful because of that thing called reader expectation.

This is where the reader picks the book up on the strength of a prior knowledge of the type of book the author writes. They have a pre conceived idea that they will read more of the same and like it. When this expectation is shattered it puts the reader out of sorts and they might not be so loyal the next time or the time after that. So, to create a new persona for a different genre is helpful, but the inherent problem will be to create a whole new audience.

Do you keep your pseudonym a secret or not?
If you have a following then an open secret will keep your fan base. People are loyal readers and will punt on an author they like, and knowing you are someone else will not put their pre conditioning in play. They will start afresh and easily connect one name with one type of book and visa versa.

So if you are an author who wears two hats. Fiction/non fiction, romance/thriller, self help/comedy or whatever, another name is helpful. Maybe twice the work to create two audiences, but good sense.

If you just want to write anonymously and create a new persona just for authorship it can be fun to have a whole new you. Names suit the type. He looks like a Peter. She is definitely a Danni. We choose our character names for what they say about a person. Again that pre conception is active. So choose a name that says something. Horatio Hornblower, Mr. Darcy, Holden Caufield. They all suit.
who will you be tomorrow?

I changed my name legally. I like my new name. I changed my web presence. People comment on my new name. People accept it...and I have found, in my own skewed way, that my new name had a positive effect on people. (Maybe I act differently now I'm someone else on paper. Who knows?) They seem to warm to my name more so than my previous name. Why? I don't know. I think it has something to do with how it comes out audibly. It is a soft sound. (My own psychology).

Think of a name. What do you see? Who is it? What can it become?
A new you might help you write as well. Now I am Zonda Metropol, and off you go writing away with your Zonda hat on.

And last but by no means least is that if you choose a name starting with A then when your book is on the shelf, in the catalogue you will be first/at the top/number 1. That has to count for something.

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