Publish, Writing

An Author by Any Other Name

When is it worth publishing under a pen name? That’s what I’m asking myself this week. Soon I’ll have two novels published under the women’s fiction category and one under romantic comedy, but my next novel is neither.

If I published under a pseudonym, I’d proclaim authorship on this blog with a dedicated page and the cover displayed in the sidebar, but the book wouldn’t be linked to my other books on my Amazon or Goodreads author pages. And search results for readers of my other books wanting to know what I’ve written lately wouldn’t include the book.


Some authors use both names on their covers such as Nora Roberts did when she started publishing in a different genre as J.D. Robb—Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. Now, she doesn’t need to do that because her pseudonym is well established. Then again, Nora Roberts was already a big author name when she chose to write under a pen name.

I haven’t established my real author name yet. Unless the literary gods choose to pluck one of my books from the masses and shoot it to the top of the Best Sellers list, I’ll have to establish my name by writing more and more and more books. So, at this point, can I afford to “lose” one to pen name?

My next book, besides High Tea & Flip Flops, will be a dark story with a little light at the end. I’ve described it variously as psychological suspense, supernatural suspense, and even romantic horror. No vampires or zombies, but an evil spirit is a prominent character. There’s some violence, but there’s also a lot about love and marriage and family. Here’s a quick description:

Tom and Julie Cogan’s marriage of twenty-three years is in crisis, but it’s not cliché when Tom becomes attracted to young and beautiful Annie. Not when they were lovers in a past life. Not when the orchestrator of this renewed attraction is an evil spirit with a lust for revenge nursed for over two hundred years. Not when the odds of surviving this grudge match are slim—for Annie and Tom, certainly, but for their loved ones as well.

So, yes, that’s definitely not romantic comedy or even women’s fiction. But is it different enough from what my readers might expect to warrant starting over with a new author name?

Do you have an opinion on when it’s best to use a pen name? If so, please share in a comment.


8 thoughts on “An Author by Any Other Name”

  1. I would suggest you use your name again. It shows you are a diverse and talented writer. The only time I would consider using a pen name is if I wrote children´s books and then wrote erotica. Just my thoughts n the subject.


    1. Thank you so much for sharing your opinion, Darlene. 🙂 It’s so hard to get anyone to comment here nowadays. Like I said to Michelle, the “vote” is 50/50 at present. I agree with you that if you write in genres as diverse as children’s and erotica you should use a pen name for one. If I wrote erotica, I’d use a pen name anyway! 😀 At first I was sure I would use one for this book, but now I’m not sure.


  2. I have two pen names. One for my regencies, one for my contemporary romances. I just started writing a cozy mystery and plan to have another pen name for that series as well. I like the idea of pen names for different genres. I know that some die-hard fans of certain authors won’t read anything else they’ve written if it’s not in their preferred genre. ie Nora Roberts for romance, but not JD Robb mysteries. And why limit your fan base. For those readers who love your romances, but don’t read paranormal thrillers, you’re losing readers. If you write under a pen name, you’ll gain other readers you wouldn’t have found.

    Hope this makes sense.

    And your supernatural suspense/romantic horror sounds fantastic! I would totally read that.


    1. Thank you for sharing your opinion, Anne. 🙂 You’re a much faster writer than I am, so I imagine you could establish a new pen name quickly. I understand, of course, that not each reader has favorite genres. I also understand that an author name can be branded with a genre. But I’m not sure I understand why I would be limiting my fan base if I don’t use a pen name. Are you saying that if I published a supernatural suspense readers who are looking for that genre would refuse to read it simply because I also write romance?


    1. Thanks for sharing your opinion, Judith. Well, it’s 50/50 right now on whether I should use a pen name. My husband and I are discussing the pros and cons. I wonder if I should discuss it with my editor at Kindle Press?


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