My writing is very important to me. It’s also intensely personal. I pour my heart and soul into my books. I didn’t want anyone to criticize or belittle what I was doing. So I kept it private. Once the work is out in the public domain I have no control over what is said about it, but I can control what happens during the writing process. Also, mainstream publishing as well as a good chunk of the public do not hold romance authors in high esteem, regardless of their dedication to their craft and the high quality books being produced in the genre. This business is filled with rejection and criticism, which is why I didn't feel the need to open myself up for more.
Monday, July 25, 2016
The Truth About Pen Names
I never seem to be in the loop when it comes to controversy and drama in the world of publishing, but I have noticed various people talking about author pen names, writer photos, and privacy.
So why do I write under a pen name?
When I started in this business back in 2004 I was writing erotic romance and I still had a day job. Erotic romance was not accepted as a genre as it is today. Plus I was an e-book author. Again, in those days we weren’t considered “real” writers. But that’s a whole other subject for another day.
I’m also a very private person and like to keep my work life and private life separate, mostly for the sake of my family. It took me over a decade of publishing and making a living at it to tell anyone outside of close family and friends what it is I do. When asked previously, I’d say contract work, which is true, just not the entire truth.
But times have changed. What I write is now considered mainstream romance, spicy hot but still mainstream. E-books are not only accepted but they are the norm for many readers. There are many writers making a living as e-book authors. The popularity of the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and other readers has opened up the publishing industry. It’s a brave new world out there.
So why not publish under my real name? Because I’ve spent almost a dozen years building up my pen name as a brand. If I used my “real” name I’d be starting all over again.
Besides, my pen name is me. It’s the name I’ve put on over 80 books. N.J. Walters is the woman who gets out of bed in the morning, sits in the corner of the living room after breakfast, and writes. And in the end, all that matters is that the books get written.
So if an author you love has a pen name what does it matter as long as you love the books. For some it’s a matter of privacy, not only for them but for their family. Other authors have multiple pen names because they write in various genres and don’t want readers to buy a book expecting one thing and getting another. Still other authors write so many books, the only way to get them all published in a timely manner is to use multiple pen names.
I don’t think most readers care one way or another. I know I don’t. As a reader, all I care about is getting the books I love by authors I enjoy. Doesn’t matter to me what name they choose to call themselves.