NEWSFLASH! The winner of the Summer Survival Kit is Andrea S. (posting as Chicks of Characterization) Congrats to Andrea and thanks again to Kerri!
From time to time, I turn over the reins of my blog to one of my writer friends. My guest blogger today is Kerri Nelson, author of paranormal and romantic suspense and she's talking about pen names. Since I am among those who answer to more than one nom de plume,(Emily Bryan and Diana Groe) I'll pay close attention. Take it away, Kerri!
Let’s talk about pen names. When I first got published, I decided to use a pen name. It’s not that I have a really terrible “real” name but more that I wanted to keep my legal name private. The other factor was that I’d already become established in several author groups and other organizations using this name. So, even though I’m happily married I don’t use my married name when I put on my author hat.
Interestingly, my hubby cannot stand this fact. He brings it up quite often as if I might have rejected his family name. I keep reminding him that I just want to protect our privacy. Particularly since I write a good bit of erotic fiction! Also, since my daughter attends a very strict Christian Academy, I don’t advertise my pen name around the school. They know I’m an author but they’d have to really look to find me.
Is that just being paranoid or is it sensible?
On the other hand, I’ve just completed my first young adult novel and I’m working on my second. I’m seriously contemplating using a different pen name for those books. If they were to get published (fingers crossed) and I had some young, teen fans looking me up on the web…would I want them to find links to download my erotica as well? Probably not.
As a parent of multiple kids, I won’t even let my own kids read my work until they are grown!
Besides privacy and parental concerns, what are some other reasons why you might want to use a pen name?
From an online article entitled “How to Choose a Pen Name” by author Jamie Hall (www.jh-author.com), here are some other reasons you might want to use a pen name:
1) Your real name is hard to remember and/or spell correctly.
2) Your real name sounds silly, stupid or obscene. If your real name suffers from any of these problems, you'll have a harder time getting readers to accept your work.
3) Your real name is the same as, or similar to, another author or a famous figure.
4) You are reclusive or fear fame, and want to make sure that regardless of how famous you might become, people won't recognize your name everywhere you go.
5) If you are already an established author, you might want to use a pen name because of issues similar to brand name loyalty. For example, if you are a woman and have a change of name because of marriage, you might want to continue using your former name as your pen name. Also, some authors find that their work sells better if they have a different pen name for each genre. If you have built a reputation for writing standard detective fiction and you now want to put out a fantasy detective novel, loyal readers may smear the new book because it disturbs their expectations. Readers of detective fiction don't normally like fantasy elements mixed in, so in this case you need to attract a new audience from the fantasy community without the burden of your prior readers giving the new book a bad name. Also, you need a separate pen name for any subject with a "taint" to it (such as erotica) if you want people to take your literary fiction or nonfiction seriously. Even Anne Rice uses a separate pen name for her erotica, though her more usual vampire novels always sit close to the border between horror and erotica.
6) You are working in a field (such as romance) where books written by a certain gender sell far better, but your name is obviously the wrong gender. Also, some female authors want a gender-neutral pen name because sexism can still impact sales, in any genre.
Here are just a few of my fave pen names:
--Tori Carrington, husband and wife romance novelist team (Tony and Lori Karayianni)
--Dr. Seuss, children’s book guru (Theodor Seuss Geisel)
--Mark Twain, American classics author (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
--Nora Roberts (romance) a/k/a J.D. Robb (futuristic suspense)
--Jayne Ann Krentz (contemporary romance) a/k/a Amanda Quick (historical romance) a/k/a Jayne Castle (futuristic)
--Lori Foster and her darker side L.L. Foster
I’d love to hear from you on your thoughts about pen names. Today I’ll be giving away a door prize to one lucky participant. The winner will receive a “Summer Survival Kit” which includes all the little things you’ll need for the hot summer months ahead (including a hot novel for beach reading) & a promo goodie bundle from me! All you have to do to enter the drawing is one of the following:
If you’re an author, I’d love to hear your thoughts on pen names. Do you use a pen name? Do you use more than one based on the genre you write? How did you choose your pen name?
Readers, give me your best pen name creation! Design one based on the genre you like to read. Make ‘em funny or scary! Here are some funny fake name examples I found around the net: Samantha Sexpot (writes erotica); Jackie Saddler (writes western); I.M. Scooby (writes mystery); Jolie Rodgers (writes historial/pirate romance).
The winner will be selected by random draw and I’ll post the winner here in the comments on Monday. So, you’ll have all weekend to play!
Thanks to Emily for this great opportunity to hang out! Don’t forget to check out my debut release Miss Taken now available wherever e-books are sold and stay tuned for my first paranormal romance entitled Soul Searcher coming in September from Whispers Publishing! You can find all the details about my books and my current contest on my website at www.kerrinelson.com
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on pen names, Kerri.Here's a taste of Kerri's novel, Miss Taken.
Tabby was dreaming. She knew she was dreaming but she couldn’t make herself wake up. She dreamt that she was in a straitjacket and the harder she struggled to free herself, the tighter her restraints became.
She shook her head from side to side and realized that something was over her mouth. It was gagging her and she suddenly felt as if she couldn’t breathe. She fought the urge to panic and began to cough frantically. Her tongue protruded from her lips and she felt something rough and unnatural there. What was going on?
As her eyes opened and tried to focus, she saw blurry images of unfamiliar furniture and she had the chilling sensation that she was in a strange place and that someone was watching her.
Suddenly it came back to her in a flash. She remembered leaving work and her missing car. She remembered the black Mercedes and then…and then she remembered nothing.
Where was she? How had she gotten here? Who had grabbed her out of her office parking deck and what were they going to do to her?
She felt panicked again and her stomach rolled with nausea. Her eyes darted around the dim room and then she saw him. She saw a beautiful man sitting in a chair across the room from her. He watched her with a mixture of curiosity and something else. What was it? If Tabby hadn’t been such a social recluse the last few years she would have been more certain but still she thought he looked at her with lust.
She blinked her eyes rapidly to help clear the remaining fog that seemed to be blocking her vision. She tried to reach up and rub her eyes and realized her arms were bound behind her back. She looked down to see that she was still wearing her work clothes, which felt like only a small relief when she saw that her ankles were also bound to the legs of the chair.
She shook her head from side to side and felt tears begin to well up in her eyes.
“Settle down now.” She heard the smooth voice of the mystery man.
Something about his voice did seem to calm her slightly but those words weren’t enough to stop the tears from spilling over her eyes and down her cheek.
* * * *
He rose slowly from his chair and reached out to her with just one finger. She felt herself automatically flinch as his hand reached for her. He stopped his hand in midair and her dark green eyes looked up at him with what she knew was a look of pure fear.
He seemed to consider her look and then said softly, “I won’t hurt you. I promise.”
In her mind, she knew this was a promise she shouldn’t believe, but something in her heart ached to try.
He began reaching for her again and touched her cheek delicately with just his fingertip. He wiped the tears from one cheek and then the other. As he leaned over her, she could smell his scent and it smelled like evergreen trees. It smelled like back home in the country, where she’d spent her childhood. It smelled like home.
He took a step back and his eyes moved over her. “I’ll take the gag off of your mouth if you promise not to scream.”
Thanks for sharing today, Kerri. All right, everybody! You heard her. Leave your funniest pen name in a comment for a chance to win Kerri Nelson's Summer Survival Kit! Have fun!