June 20, 2011

Signed With a Kiss (or On Pennames)

There are numerous varied reasons why writers use pennames, but I think the most compelling is that pennames provide anonymity. You don the author cape whenever you need to promote your brand, and then have the option to remove it for either private doings or a daytime job.

Yes, pennames are great. But what if you have more than one? Authors who write two categories of books (often YA and adult) usually do so under separate pennames. That's two entirely separate brands for two separate audiences. Promoting your brand is hard enough when it's just one name!

Some of those authors openly link to their other pennames. I can see the appeal. Not only is the combined publishing creds fun to look at, you're bound to have some overlap in your audiences. Plenty of readers enjoy both YA and adult books and, if they're fans of your writing, would probably happily read books by both your pennames.

But others prefer to keep the two strictly separated. And I can see the reasoning here as well. Few people would want their boss/coworkers/aunt/granddaughter/etc to know they also write erotic fiction in addition to... let's say, children's picture books. Or even just regular adult novels, literary or genre. Maybe it's not even a personal decision, so much as a business decision. The two are separately managed, and so you want to keep them separate publicly as well.

What do you guys think? If you had separate pennames, would you be open about what they were or would you keep them strictly separated?

Happy Monday! ♥

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