Friday, July 26, 2013

Do I need a new name?

Writers sometimes agonize over whether or not to change names when they change genres. They worry that all their cowboy fans will hate them and stop reading their cowboy books if they start writing fantasy.

But the problem with a second name is all the promotion. A second website, a second blog, another Facebook account. Then there’s Pinterest, Twitter, Google circles and more. Since most authors also have a day job, they’d rather be writing their next book than trying to think up two totally different blogs.

There’s no right or wrong decision here. It has to be what works best for each individual writer. But I would make a couple of cautioning remarks.
If you decide to write two very different genres under the same name you must be very clear on each blurb which genre that book falls under. Your cowboy readers have little grounds for complaint if the blurb clearly says, “Prince Handsome and Princess Pretty climb on their unicorn and depart for the Magical Kingdom…”

If you decide to keep a different name for each genre be aware that unless you change your writing style some readers will work out who you are. An author’s voice seldom changes much between genres. Be prepared to be discovered and plan how you’ll deal with that.

Some writers choose a middle path. They write under two different names, but their blogs and Facebook accounts etc are all linked. They make no secret of the fact they’re the same person, and that the different name is just to keep the two genres clearly delineated.

Whatever you decide ultimately needs to be what will suit you, personally, best.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.


anny cook said...

Jayne Ann Krentz, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick... :-)

Tracy Cooper-Posey said...

I kept up the Teal Ceagh pen name for my erotic paranormals for a year before I had to come out of the closet and say who I really was...couldn't keep up with it anymore.

Now I've re-released all the Teal Ceagh books under my own name. Life is definitely less complicated and the readers don't seem to have any problem with the two (quite different) genres, either.

But I do have warnings blazing all over the hotter stuff. :)


Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Anny: or even JK Rowling and Robert Galbraith!

Yeah, Tracy, I think that's the key if you use the same name for different genres: being very clear about which kind of book they're about to read.