Friday, March 5, 2010

Nom de Plume

A few people asked me early on if I planned to use a pseudonym.  It never even occurred to me to do so.  I can't see why one would do so, unless an author were writing in completely different genres and trying to appeal to completely different readers.  For example, I know a mystery author who writes whodunits under her own name, but she also writes erotica... using a pen name.  'Nuff said. 

I can also even maybe understand the appeal of a nom de plume if you don't want to essentially compete with yourself, say if you have two series and the release dates are in the same season.  Mind you, this didn't affect Robert B. Parker and the Spenser-Sunny Randall-Jesse Stone novels (but then, hey, he was Robert B. Parker).

What I don't understand is when an author starts to blend the two names, as in the case with Nora Roberts and JD Robb.  I've noticed hardcovers books of hers labelled "Nora Roberts writing as JD Robb" and that seems odd to me.  It may have something to do with the publisher or with contracts or something else I have not considered...

There may also be (initial) resistance from readers who expect an author to, let's say, write gritty police procedurals... and the author may decide to give cozies a try.  I get that, really I do.

I'm wondering about this at the moment because I'm wondering what I might do if and when a new series idea comes to me...

What are your thoughts?


  1. I agree 100%

    Maybe if your first few books failed miserably in sales and you wanted a new start... that would be the only reason I would do it, beside the other reasons you mentioned.

  2. I can honestly see using a pen-name if you have a hard to pronounce/remember last name, or I can see changing up for shelf-placement (so your books don't always end up down by the floor).

  3. I don't really see the need for a pen name. Seems dishonest to me, somehow.

  4. Thanks for the feedback Jeff and Kim and Brian.

    Good point, Kim, about shelving! I'm glad my last name isn't Zwicker!

  5. BTW

    I just bought your book... again. the last three time the seller on amazon didn't send the book.

    so when i get it, i'll let you know what i think.

    best of luck.

  6. We'd never want a pen name because we want all the fame and glory! I mean what's the point of being a published writer if your frenemies can't google you and find out how madly famous you are? Ha!

  7. To L & L - haha! I love it!