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#336070 - 08/26/07 12:42 AM Using a pseudonym
elle Offline

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
This week's article is on choosing to use a pseudonym when you publish.

Here is the forum conversation that started this discussion:

Originally Posted By: Karm
I've been curious to request an article from you, or at least your informal thoughts on psuedonyms. It seems that authors don't use them as much anymore unless we're talking about authors writing in different genres like Nora Roberts writing her SF/mystery series under J.D. Robb or Charles DeLint writing his detective books under whatever psuedonym he picked out.

I'd like to write fiction and nonfiction, and I've considered using a psuedonym for the fiction. One reason is that I've already established a (slight) internet presence under my real name here at BellaOnline writing nonfiction (book reviews). So, like you were saying with you and the fantasy genre, my real name has become associated with my nonfiction writing.

The other reason for the psuedonym in fiction is that fiction is just so incredibly personal! I mean, imagine your mother reading a sex scene in your fiction. Many self-confidant writers would never be bothered by that, but when you're just getting started ... I'd find it a bit inhibiting!

Sometimes I wonder, though, if there are pitfalls I haven't considered in writing under a psuedonym. Like perhaps having to prove who I am someday if someone else tries to steal my identity? I think that in the area of writing for the internet, the use of psuedonyms has boomed, as has plagiarism.

Originally Posted By: Vance
Didn't Stephen King write a novel or a series of novels under a pseudonym?

For some reason I am thinking the Green Mile or something called the Dark Tower.

Originally Posted By: Elle
Stephen King's pseudonym is Richard Bachman, and I'll have to look it up but I think it was Running Man that was written as RB. Most of the RB books have now been reissued under SK. I think he did the pseudonym thing because his publishers couldn't believe he could really churn out as many books as he was doing.

Read the original forum thread.
Elle Carter Neal
BellaOnline Alumna

#336138 - 08/26/07 12:34 PM Re: Using a pseudonym [Re: elle]
MB2345 Offline

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 589
Great article, Elle! Very comprehensive. I'd never thought about registering a pseudonym as a business!

#336183 - 08/26/07 06:17 PM Re: Using a pseudonym [Re: MB2345]
elle Offline

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks Karm.

It is important, though, to check all the tax and other implications of registering a business. In some situations here in Aus, an author sometimes has a better tax offset as an individual and loses that if they have a business. (We have a tax law that takes advances/royalties into account for authors/artists/musicians.)
Elle Carter Neal
BellaOnline Alumna

#336187 - 08/26/07 07:09 PM Re: Using a pseudonym [Re: elle]
Megan M Offline
BellaOnline Editor

Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 832
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
I use a pseudonym when writing fiction, as it does help me change from "non-fiction" to "fiction" writing mode.

Not to mention that my fiction works are of the erotica variety....
Megan McConnell

#336208 - 08/26/07 10:06 PM Re: Using a pseudonym [Re: Megan M]
elle Offline

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Yes, I'm sure that can become part of it too - that you develop almost a different persona for different types of writing, and you use the name to enter into your frame of mind. I think even forum users can feel like a "different" person when they have a username that doesn't readily identify them and they can, ironically, be themselves - or be who they want to be.
Elle Carter Neal
BellaOnline Alumna

#336367 - 08/27/07 03:55 PM Re: Using a pseudonym [Re: elle]
K i K i Offline

Registered: 12/27/06
Posts: 180
Great article Elle!

I am enrolled in a novel writing course which begins in September. These are the things that I find comforting to know some facts about beforehand as it can be so intimidating to delve into something new feeling like you know nothing. I've gleaned a lot of useful information from your articles! Thanks again!

#336380 - 08/27/07 05:30 PM Re: Using a pseudonym [Re: K i K i]
elle Offline

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I'm so glad Kiki! All the best with your course smile
Elle Carter Neal
BellaOnline Alumna

#338364 - 09/04/07 09:54 AM Re: Using a pseudonym [Re: elle]
FrankJBN Offline

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 403
To Karm,

"I've already established a (slight) internet presence under my real name here at BellaOnline writing nonfiction (book reviews). So, like you were saying with you and the fantasy genre, my real name has become associated with my nonfiction writing."

I do not mean to defame you (or Bella-online) in the least, but in truth, by writing book-reviews for Bella-Online, your real name has not actually become associated with your non-fiction writing. Do people think of you as 'that book reviewer'?

Certainly any potential publishers will not view this as likely causing confusion with any potential audience for your fiction work.

As to your fear of your mother reading a sex scence in a book published under your own name, are we to understand that if you had a book published under a pseudonym you would not inform your mother?

I have had work published and produced under my own name in the fields of drama, poetry, short fiction and literary criticism. No one except for my friends thinks of me as a writer or associates my name with any specific field. Simply because I have written farsical plays, adult oriented poems and Chandleresque detective fiction does not move me to submit literary criticism under a pseudonym.

IMO, a pseudonym is really only necessary in the case of fame (or infamy).


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