Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Multiple Pen Names: A Good Idea?

I've started to plot out some ideas for a novel in a different genre from what I've written before, and I'm wondering if it's a good idea to have a different pen name for this book? I've heard of writers who have a few different names and I've always kind of liked the idea of having multipe identities.  Let's face it, writers already suffer from multiple personality disorder, but a new pen name does raise some questions.
 1. Should this pen name be kept completely separate from what I've written before or should I state on my Amazon page, blog etc that I'm also writing under another name?
2. Because it's a different genre, do I need to set up a new blog, twitter account, website etc under the new name which is in keeping with this genre? I'm not overly keen on this idea as it seems like a lot of work but everything I've read on writing emphasizes the importance of branding.
3. Is it really a great idea to write in completely different genres or should I just stick with what I know?
Now my grasp on reality is already pretty tenuous so I'm wondering if it will be any good for my mental health to switch between different writing identities (LOL). My feeling is that it will actually help to refresh me and to make me look at things in a different way, which can only help my writing. It's daunting to start again from scratch, in a sense, but it's also very exciting.
What might make it a little more difficult is the decision I've made recently to begin working on more than one book at at time. I've always been the kind of person who only reads one book at a time and focuses completely on one manuscript until it's done, but it's getting harder and harder to do this. Part of it comes down to my reduced attention span which I completely blame on technology. It's just too easy these days to flip between books and websites and there's always something competing for your attention. I've been fighting this tendency for a long time but now I've just decided to embrace it and read what I feel like reading and write what I want to write instead of forcing myself to stick to one thing.
 I was inspired to take this approach by a book I'm reading at the moment called Secrets of Successful Writers (it's free on Amazon and I'd recommend it). The books consists of interviews with bestselling authors and I noticed that many of them have a few WIPs on the go at once. I'll give this way a chance and see how it works out. If it doesn't I can always go back to doing things the old-fashioned way. Meantime I have to come up with a whole new author identity and 'brand' to go with my new book which at this stage is just a basic plot outline. It's like inventing a whole new character, which is always great fun. I might even change genders this time just to mix things up a bit.


  1. I write both adult and child fiction so I use two separate pen names. I never mention that I have two different names...but I can't see why mentioning both or more than one would be a problem.

    1. Thanks, Randi lee. Do you have separate social media accounts for your different pen names, and if so, do you find it very time consuming?

  2. Let people know. If they enjoy one genre they may enjoy another.

  3. Thanks fugeecat...I've decided for now to publish under a different name and see how it goes. I have a new book almost ready to send out there so it's very exciting to launch into a whole new genre! Later down the track I'll probably update my profiles etc but for now I'm going to keep everything separate.