Pseudonyms

Kattywampus Books is obviously a pseudonym.

Someday I hope it will be the name of my little self-publishing enterprise, but right now it’s just a name.

There are arguments both for and against pseudonyms.

Against Using a Psuedonym

1 – You should be proud of what you do. If you’re not proud of it, you shouldn’t do it and if you don’t want the world to know it was you, why the hell are you doing it? Which is an excellent point. Writing a book is no small matter. You pour your blood, sweat and tears into your work, you’ve polished your baby until your fingers fell off. You have ever right to be proud of your work and scream it from the rooftops.

2 – …

I really can’t think of a second reason to not use a pseudonym. Stand tall, be proud, and when someone knocks you down, stand up again, look them in the eye and say “you hit like a little bitch.”

For Using a Pseudonym

1 – Personal security. Even if you are proud of what you do, there’s always some asshole who wants to make your life hell for doing it. Maybe they enjoy being jerks. Maybe they have a stalker thing going on. Maybe they just are hard-core fans of your work who desperately want to talk to you whenever the hell they want. No matter how you look at it, do you want this person to have your personal address? I scream, you scream, the police come…It’s awkward.

2 – The day-job. The sad truth is, very few writers make a living wage from writing. Most have to have a day-job or a spouse/parent/sugar-partner in order to pay the bills. A lot of businesses are quite conservative, so if you’re someone who writes erotica, but works in a bank, using your real name may end up costing you your job. This is not to say that you should lie to your business’ security officer about the alias you have, but when a school-teacher is recognized as writing hot and sexy romance thrillers because “Ms. Betty Jo Abbot, 2nd grade teacher” is recognized as the same B.J. Abbot, author of the “Sweaty Nights” series by a bunch of parents, for some reason people get all huffy about it. (Never mind that in order to recognize you as that author, there’s a damned good chance that at least one of the complainants reads your work. Regularly.)

3 – Discoverability. Noreen Zaplatskaya may be your given name, but there’s an interesting quirk about human psychology (at least in the U.S.) – if your name has too many syllables or looks weird, most people will pass it up because they can’t pronounce it. Sad, but true. Look on the shelf of any bookstore or even hit up Amazon. What’s the first thing that runs across your mind when you see the oddball author name? Chances are “I want to read that,” isn’t one of them. A lot of times you see the same thing from Human Resources departments when they review resumes.

4 – Avoid reader confusion. Let’s say you write awesome murder-mysteries. Then one day you sit down and discover you have a talent for writing children’s books. A lot of parents get fussy about author names, for the same reason as #2 above. “I don’t want my 4 year old child reading a book by Jane Braddlestone! Her Blood and Frost series is so graphic!” Well, yes, her adult-geared work may be graphic, but we’re talking about a book called “The Lost Baby Dragon,” in which two child heroes help a baby dragon find his way home again, utilizing sight-words in the text commonly found in kindergarten homework. Once again, people get fussy-stupid about names and for some reason get huffy when their favorite romance author dabbles in fantasy.

Ultimately, it all comes down to a personal choice. What’s right for you? What works for you?

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About kattywampusbooks

A SAHM with delusions of literacy.
This entry was posted in Writer, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Pseudonyms

  1. Not to mention that authors traditionally use Pseudonyms. Tradition can go both ways with that.

    Like

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