Pseudonym or No Pseudonym, That Is The Question

I have been thinking for years about whether or not I wanted to use a pseudonym when I get published. When I was a younger writer I was determined to have one because I really loathed my maiden name.–and my first name for that matter Well I’m married now and perfectly happy with my last name, and I go by my middle name (have for nearly a decade now) instead (much to my mother’s chagrin). But still I maintained that I wanted a pseudonym. I use one for all my blogs, Myspace, etc: Maggie Maccallan. Maggie because I’m from the Magnolia state (Mississippi for those who aren’t sure), Maccallan as a bastardization of my favorite scotch (Macallan), because my personality has been compared to scotch (i.e. powerful and occasionally hard to swallow, which I choose to take as a compliment). This is, in fact, the pseudonym I would choose to write under. It’s available as a .com domain name (my real name is not). A small part of me wanted to publish under my own name when I was younger as a “Ha!” to all those obnoxious people in high school who were ugly to me. But given that I’m now married and go by my middle name–none of them would know who I am.

There’s the privacy issue–not that I expect to have a multitude of lunatic fans, but one of the major reasons I have used a pseudonym in the blog world is because I wanted my stuff, particularly the personal stuff, not to be readily connected to me. This writer’s blog is the first time I have actually tried to recruit readers. My personal blog was just that–intended as a journal for me alone. It’s public, but I change everyone’s name, so no one knows who I’m really talking about except me. I am continually shocked and amazed by how much personal information people put on the internet about themselves without any effort at caution. And being that I write murder mysteries (and that I’ve read some real life articles about it), I envision the nut jobs out there using that information to steal identities, track someone down and kill them. There’s a huge problem (of course any is huge to me on this issue) with kids getting on IM and Myspace and stuff and being stalked by pedophiles that they think are other kids their age. Creepy stuff.

It is quite possible that at some point I will wind up publishing in multiple genres (and yes, I am confident that I can do it!). I write romance, romantic suspense, and YA. It would seem logical that I have a different name to market the YA under. Some authors and publishers prefer that. I heard one author call it branding. One name was for his regular crime fiction, another for his horror. He and his publisher felt that it would be less confusing for readers that way. There are quite a few authors out there who have pseudonyms for differing genres–and it’s not like their actual identity is a secret. Take Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb for example. Everybody knows that J.D. is Nora. So it’s possible I may wind up doing something like that eventually. This is all mostly in the future. But I still wrestle with the notion of whether I want to use a pseudonym or not. Anybody have an opinion on this issue they care to share?

One thought on “Pseudonym or No Pseudonym, That Is The Question

  1. My aunt is having a cow about the idea of me using my real name on the Narc series. Yanno, because that was my ex-career and I used my real name while undercover. She’s convinced every person I ever busted will come hunt me down. Eh, I’m not buying that theory completely. I mean, that’s pretty out there. Most people wouldn’t risk messing with someone who busted them, just because they don’t want to bring further trouble down on themselves. Granted, there could be the one exception — but goodness, I’m not going to hide because of a small outside chance of someone going bonkers. It’s more likely I’d be stalked by a rabid fan who didn’t like my last book. LOL. Even that is pretty out there, and sorta belongs in bad fiction, come to think of it. (g)

    This is my view on the whole thing. I work HARD to write my books. The query/agent search process was KILLER, and I very nearly gave up many times. Once D.A. and I come to an agreement over an outline, it will take even more time to rewrite the book to his satisfaction. DAMN…that’s a lot of work. LOL. I DESERVE to see my name hit the shelves when/if it makes it there. I don’t want to look at some other name, and not be able to announce to the world that _I_ wrote THAT book…that one…right there… see it in its FACE-OUT position on the shelves? (g)

    There may be an issue if I have books coming out in two different genres… or yanno, 3 or 4 (g)… but I’ll worry about that when/if it happens. Whichever book hits the shelves first WILL bear my real name, though. 🙂

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