I'll start by saying that I didn't think the matter of a pen name through thoroughly enough. One reason I decided to use one was that I received three publishing contracts in a short time frame—two books with one publisher and one with another.
I thought it would be better not to have the books competing since they were with different publishers—talk about warped reasoning—and secondly I had a really nosy character in my life at the time that I didn't want to even get a whiff of what I was doing.
More warped reasoning, I know.
Long story short - I have a book languishing on Amazon that I don't do enough to promote. The irony is that Hardware is probably my favourite book. It took me ages to whittle it down from a 100k word romantic suspense monster, to a manuscript that the assigned editor praised as being very clean. It was also the first book I outlined—by that I mean that I wrote an index card for every chapter just before I sat down to continue the story. And I'll admit a lot of my character is reflected in the female lead. Now that I think about it, that book also taught me how to juggle three female characters at a time.
The trouble is, I thought I would have continued to write a series under the name Jayda McTyson, but now it doesn't seem like a smart thing to do, since I've built a brand based on my own name. The people who are reading my books find
everything most of what I've written
easily enough through the Amazon system. However, only a few have made the link
which I've tried to work in through another Amazon
Author Page. Can you say sole occupant?
So, meantime, I have two more books written, thanks to the female characters in Hardware, who demanded their own stories, but I'm not sure what to do about branding. Would it be wise to continue under the pen name with a notation that I'm writing as McTyson? Or would it be smarter to include a snippet from Hardware in the back of the second book to point people to my orphan child? Or do I go on publishing the others under the McTyson label?
Any advice from my trusty writing buddies?
My publisher has been good at coming up with marketing ideas, so I have to take the blame for the tanking of this book. It's a pity because I know it's a good story. Make no mistake though, I'll be pulling up my socks and I've started by putting the book back on my sidebar. I will admit that the thought of building on the McTyson name is daunting, but as we all know, a writer's job is never done.
The point of this post?
1. Weigh all the pros and cons before you take on a pen name. One of my compelling arguments against taking this path would be the orphan situation discussed above, as well as the social media aspect. Imagine the tweeting and Facebooking time suck being doubled or tripled for someone like me who writes in various genres.
2. Be very sure you're taking on a pen name for the right reason/s eg. writing in vastly different genres.
3. Don't be afraid to round up your trusted writing buddies and/or a marketing expert to help you make the decision. Two heads are better than one. It's kinda the same as needing other eyes to look at your work. You won't always see the glaring errors until it's too late.
If you're still thinking about taking on a pen name, carefully consider number one above. Again. It might save you untold mental agony.
Trust me, you don't want to have your blood, sweat and tears (aka novel) stuck in limbo like this author.