Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let's Get Real: Pseudonyms Have Their Uses.

Sometimes: At one of my workshops, a would-be author asked me what I thought about pen names. Knowing that he was thinking about writing an exposé and wanted to hide in the bushes, I said, "Not much." Of course, I sympathized with a whistle blower who just wanted to protect himself. It's just that books don't sell themselves. If you (as author) don't do it, no one else will. At least not in the real world.

Still, I was jumping to conclusions, not so much about this guy but in general. Just because you choose to write under a pseudonym doesn't mean you are anonymous. For example, the banker who puts on an orange wig, whiteface, and a red rubber nose in order to entertain at children's parties is wise to do so as "Chuckles" rather than as "Mr. Charles Morgan," even if parents know who he is outside of his get-up. He's not anonymous, but the pseudonym separates his clown persona from his banker's persona. In the same way, you can build your brand with a pen name.

Moreover, just because you remain anonymous doesn't mean you can't represent your book. It's trickier. though, because you have to find ways to be "visible" without being "identified." You might find yourself interviewed in the shadows or with your natural voice changed electronically.

What you can't do, at least in my world, is write a book and put it out there, thinking somebody else is going to sell it for you.--The Publishing Pro.

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