MONDAY MUSINGS: Pseudonyms!


Okay, I’ve been thinking a lot lately.

Yes, it did hurt a little, in case you were wondering.

However, it is quite an important musing for me to be making. One I can’t really ignore. And one I need to be figuring out pretty sharpish.

Pen Names: Yay or nay?

I ask simply because I am seriously considering writing a YA novel. I’ve had the story rolling around in my head for a couple of months and the ideas have been slowly evolving and expanding and improving and I’m actually getting pretty excited about what it could turn into.

BUT … I only write (normally) adult paranormal romance or urban fantasy–under my own name.

Now, that’s not to say that I can’t break from my mould. But my adult PNR/UF is what I’m slowly becoming known for. And that worries me should I cross over into the realm of YA.

It doesn’t concern me where my adult readers are concerned, however. A whole HEAP of adults who love PNR/UF also love the same genre in YA.

What does concern me is any YA readers of my YA work hunting and finding my not-so-YA stuff. Not that I write anything particularly bad. I’m certainly no erotica writer. But there are scenes of intimacy in pretty much every adult work I write/have written.

So I’m confused and unsure about what to do for the best. Particularly when some authors have novels in both the adult and YA categories and seem to have managed the cross over very well.

Like Rachel Vincent or Kelley Armstrong, for instance. Both had an adult series out (an ongoing one in Kelley’s case) when they had YA works published. When I Tweeted Rachel with: @rachelkvincent You mind me asking what made you decide to write under the same name for your YA as you did your adult novels? #justcurious, she kindly responded with: @JABelfield The fact that I had an already-established audience that might also like YA in the same genre**. as well as pointed out that many authors have gone this route, naming Richelle Mead and Jenna Black as a further two.

To be honest, I was unsurprised by her reasoning.

In fact, I figured it a pretty shrewd move that these authors kept their pen names the same: in the cases of Rachel and Kelley, both had a readymade adult audience who would either trust them enough as a writer to follow along into their YA realms, or who would have younger (ie: YA) members in their families who they could perhaps encourage to read these new younger themed titles coming out. Surely it must have beat beginning from scratch as a ‘never-heard-of’ author?

Do the majority of authors who cross over keep the same name whether they write YA or adult?

Or do the majority of them go to great lengths to keep those identities separate to protect their younger audiences from their adult titles?

What would be the benefits of using separate pseudonyms (other than that already mentioned)?

Let’s hear your thoughts on this? To split personality or not split personality, that is the question.

(**Many thanks to Rachel Vincent for allowing permission to quote her)

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18 thoughts on “MONDAY MUSINGS: Pseudonyms!

  1. There are times I wish I would’ve thought of a pen name for myself, mostly for privacy purposes. And I was thinking about a pen name after I signed the contract for Tidal Whispers — because I write YA as a standard, my first story was pubb’d in a YA anthology. So, while my story for TW started out as a YA tale, I feel like the whole anthology is intended for an adult audience. So I’ve been struggling with how to explain to people that, while I normally write for YA, my current story is in a work geared for Adults. So then I wonder if I should’ve developed a pen name for the “adult” (non-erotica) side.

    I definitely wonder how other authors do it though, how they manage the work involved with developing a friend/follower base for two distinct identities – and keep them straight! 😉 I know I’ve received facebook or goodreads friend requests, scratch my head as to how I know this person, and then I discover that this “person” is really a writer friend of mine! lol! I admit to getting nervous when chatting them up, for fear I’ll say the wrong thing to the wrong identity, you know, perhaps talk about a YA project to their erotica personality sort of thing.

    This is a great post, I’ll be following this post to see what others say on the topic! 😀

  2. Yep, thanks, Kelly. Sounds as though we’re totally coming from the same place. But my concern isn’t so much managing to keep the identities separate as much as having the time to maintain 2 separate identities, because it would mean double the social networking, double the blogging …

    1. ahhh, yes, I see now. There’s a lot of time involved in managing dual (or more) identities. And by taking that into consideration, I’m personally leaning towards keeping everything under my KS name, focusing more on my writing and admiring the authors who are able to succeed with both their identities. 😀

      I’m looking forward to seeing what you decide on. 🙂

  3. As a reader, I personally prefer it when an author has another name for their YA work. When I find an author I really like, I traditionally haunt Amazon and/or Paperbackswap.com looking to see what and when their next book is going to be out. I keep a special calendar marked for when the next books are coming out. Unfortunately, most of the time, you can’t immediately tell when an traditionally adult author has decided to release a YA title. I have ended up pre-ordering and receiving a YA book, not realizing it wasn’t part of the author established adult series. This makes me incredibly GRRRRRRR. I don’t read YA, I don’t like YA. Since this has happened, every author who also writes YA has gone onto a “no pre-order” list. I just can’t trust not to end up again with something I definitely don’t want.

    I know I am just one person, but you were asking for opinions, and this is mine.

    1. I do get where you’re coming from, Judy. Personally, I quite enjoy YA but I can see how it’d be irritating to someone who doesn’t–and all too often, you can’t always tell from the cover or blurb who the audience is intended to be.

  4. As you know, I AM the YA penname for another author. 🙂 So my answers is already obvious. But also, as you know, I did it because I don’t want kids to accidentally pick up any of my adult stuff thinking it’s YA. I have a ‘stop’ to the line I will cross in YA … and in the adult books, I have another stop. Since those stopping points are way far separate, I just don’t want the risk.

    HOWEVER … I do cross mingle my stories and do say who I am on both my blogs and share a website. I have no problem letting my own fan base know who my other me is (Aimee Laine) and vice versa. I think if you have a big enough fan base and you aren’t hiding behind your pen name, they will follow and they will know, exactly what books are YA vs. those that are adult.

    🙂

    1. Sorry, do I know you? 😛

      I kid, I kid.

      The thing is, Emi, that you have waaaaaaay better organisational skills than I do. Mine pretty much suck. And the reasons you mention for why you’ve chosen that route would be the same as what could push me to swing that way. 🙂

  5. The only author I know of who uses a ‘almost’ pen-name for her YA books is Lilith Saintcrow. To be honest, her PNR/UF books are fairly intense and violent (in some cases – her Dante Valentine series, to be exact); but when she wrote vampiric/angelic YA stuff (aka the Strange Angels series) she adopted the pseu-de-nom of ‘Lili St Crow’ (not too obvious, really) 🙂

    But I think this was a clever move on her part, mainly because the teen-market might not make the connection; but if they did, then they might not be too disturbed (Strange Angels did have some ‘not nice’ scenes).

    Still, I am of the opinion that if the YA/adult books don’t differentiate too much in content (extreme violence or sex) then keeping your usual name won’t matter.

    Go for it !! 🙂
    *Hugs*

    1. Yeah, I did worry about my intimate scenes but they’re in no way extreme. In fact, they’re downright tame compared to a lot. However, I do wonder if people’s opinions will change on that as the series goes on. There is a slightly steamier than normal scene coming up in book 2, and from book 3 the titles switch to the male pack members as MC, so the language isn’t always so clean. However, regarding a couple of the authors I mention, they’re intimate scenes are ‘rougher’ than mine, and they also have gore and bad language in their adult works and writing YA doesn’t seem to have brought them any ill effects, so I probably will keep my name the same. I discussed it with my editor, and she suggested placing Julie Belfield instead of my initials on my YA title so there’s differentiation. That would work out fine most places except GR, as an author has to have the exact name match to a book to have it linked to them.

      Thanks for the imput and encouragement, Carole-Ann. 🙂

  6. Well, I have a few YA novel ideas that I haven’t completed or started so I haven’t crossed that bridge yet. i’m seriously considering, since none of the stuff I’ve written under my real name is beyond what I feel a younger reader should read, to use that should I reach that stage. Not really sure.

    I do have the two pen names for my pure romance and erotic romance personnas though. I wanted my audience to know when they picked the erotic stuff up, they were going to get the “Full Monty”. On the romance side I have written out the love making scenes but they’re softer without explicit words being used.

    As far as keep my pen names separate, I only do that on Facebook with author pages. My Twitter account is linked to them all. If I finally finish something YA, my plan is to make a website for it all to go on with access restrictions on the naughtier side. With I don’t care that people know who i am on any of the genres I write, I do want them to know what to expect when they pick up a book with “Kastil Eavenshade” on it. That’s my main reason for bothering with pseudonyms.

  7. Hard core fans will know ALL your identities. It comes down to whether or not you feel responsible for your first time adult readers or YA readers. Would it upset you to have the YA readers mistakenly reading your adult works? Would complaints by adult readers that your work is ‘tame’ cause you regret? Only you can answer that. If you feel the responsibility for identifying content (scary and sexy stuff) is the responsibility of the publisher and the reader then why complicate your life? As a purely personal preference I would recommend a pseudonym for YA and recommend you combine your online commitments as much as possible. I realise the idea of separation is to keep ‘conversations’ between appropriate audiences but you should be able to minimise. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  8. I personally like the idea of a plit personality. I think it might also help separate the types of stories you want to write. One style under pen name, one style under you.

  9. Don’t mind me, I’m just following along with the discussion and seeing if you’ve decided to reveal a new identity – or not, hehehehe! Enquiring minds are dying to know! 😀 (ps, I agree with bigpallooka in that your YA and A fans will find you no matter what name you have us look for 😉 )

    1. At the moment, I’m swaying toward using my first name and being Julie A Belfield for my YA novel so I’m still me but with enough for differentiation purposes. 🙂

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