For me, there's my real name and my pen name and the two meet but rarely. I signed up with my RWA group under my real name, which was a mistake. It's easier for me to be Sela in all things writing related.
But I know writers who, aside from their real name, use up to four or five different pseudonyms! How do they keep it all straight? How do they promo for every name? And if everyone knows all the different names anyway, then what's the point?
I can see different names if you're writing children's lit and erotica, but I don't understand a new name for going from romance to romantic suspense. Or even from romance to erotica. Why? Is your target audience so terribly different? Not really.
There are reasons to get a new name, I suppose. If your sales are tanking badly as Stinky Writer, then it might be worthwhile to let SW go and reinvent yourself as Sexy Author. But that doesn't seem to be the case for a lot of writers with multiple names.
I know PBW has used at least five different names over her career. A couple of them, I understand. SciFi is a vastly different audience than Christian Fiction. No problem. But she's got three names for romance writing, including her latest incarnation as Lynn Viehl for her urban fantasy Darkyn series (total fangirl, btw -- love those books). Career reincarnations? Perhaps. She's been around long enough that new names bring new audiences.
So help me out. If you use more than one pen name -- why?
I commented on Divas, but I only have one real name and one pen name.
And my pen name is a combo of my middle name and hubby's middle name.
Wellllll, I have my real name which is the romance I don't mind my mother reading. Then, I have a pen name which is for my erotic romance. I've often wondered if using my real name is wise, but I don't expect I'll have to worry about stalkers for a LONG time. LOL.
And multiple author names makes promoting a pain in the neck from my perspective.
I usually forget where I am.
I have three (so far).
Real name, which I keep to myself because I'm a very private person.
Romance writer name (although I even thought of having two of those, one for hot and one for sweet).
And one I've set aside just for writing mysteries. Someday. Because it's a different genre, and I don't want readers picking it up expecting huge manroots, and even my voice seems to change when I write them. ;-)
The Manroot Mystery series, Raine. I can see it now. *gg*
Jenn, I think it's the idea of having to do all that promo over and over that just kills me.
Amanda, I love your name. It's so you!
I have my real name and my pen name plus another picked out. I'm not sure if I'm going to use the other name for the historical stuff (if I ever really pursue it) or my Southern stuff. Probably the Southern stuff because it is very different.
Hi Sela! Great topic...mainly because I often have intense cases of multiple personality syndrome because of my pen names. Well, I really only have one because Larissa Ione is my real name, but the Sydney thing gets weird sometimes because it's shared. How people can keep track of more is beyond me!
Hi there - I have just been reading Tess Gerritsen's blog on exactly the same topic! Spooky.
I have three names - my real one is too complicated and too long.
Romance name - Romantic comedy and sweet short contemporary.
Thriller/crime. I have chosen short syllables. Initials only. Asexual.
The real problem will be with personal branding. Two different personas. Two different reader expectations. Probably two websites.
Perhaps I should worry about that when I actually sell the book!
Take care, Ray-Anne
Hey Ray-Anne, thanks for stopping by! See, I can see the value of a new name when you switch genres entirely -- romance to thrillers (as opposed to rom susp).
Same with Loribelle. Romance to Southern Lit Fic is an entirely different ball game. (Hey, have you read George Singleterry? Short story writer from SC -- fantastic)
Larissa, I don't know how you do it without becoming schizophrenic. Reading your blog adventures with Sydney sounds frenetic!