In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be.
~ Hubert H. Humphrey (1911 - 1978)
Amanda Borenstadt said,
Then again, here I am, building up my little blog following, using my real name, like I've heard I should, only to publish under a brand new unknown name? Do I quick, use the new name now and publish all future short stories under it?
That depends on the blog. Are we talking a million hits a month? A thousand? Is your blog aimed at general readership or at a niche? Edittorrent is a niche blog with great penetration to a very limited target audience. Despite many writers and authors knowing about us and regularly visiting here, a shocking number of plumbers and bus drivers and accountants have never even heard of us. Hard to imagine! So if we were to publish a line of study guides for the CPA exam, we probably wouldn't worry about leveraging the edittorrent name. You see? It's all in the audience.
You can use your existing blog to cross-market, too. I would be more concerned about finding ways to draw new readers to your existing blog. You want to make them loyal fans. Once you've got them, you can market and cross-market to them. You've just got to hook them first.
I find it an interesting prejudice that we associate the type of book with the name. Wonder if it's left over from the days of thinking that women shouldn't write anything, and women shouldn't write anything serious that's not for other women?
I don't know how to answer this. I have heard anecdotally of female authors being advised to assume male pen names because men don't read books by women. But then I watch my dad, a he-man if ever there was one, lap up Maeve Binchy books in the most unironic fashion. I think there's little doubt that gender bias still exists, but the exact contours of that might be hard to delineate.
Here's an example of the line of logic we run into--
* Women want to read romances penned by women, therefore male romance writers should adopt pen names.
* But Nicholas Sparks is a major bestseller.
* But his books aren't genre romances.
* But the reading masses -- the casual readers who propel a book into bestsellerdom -- think of it as a romance.
::shrug:: I'd recommend thinking about it from a branding standpoint. Try to reach your target readers first, and the non-target readers (like my dad, the Maeve Binchy fan) will find you if you fit into one of their reading exceptions. (For the record, he usually reads military thrillers and spy novels, but Binchy taps into his love of Ireland.)
I forgot the most important part of choosing a name. Thinking from a business perspective - shouldn’t a writer be concerned about shelf placement?
There are two schools of thoughts on this. One says that you'll get more browsers to accidentally scan your title if you're shelved near a big name author. The other says that people will look right past your titles because they only want the other guy's books.
My personal feeling is that I'd rather be the BNA than the author shelved next to the BNA. Write a book that people seek rather than one they stumble upon. Ditto for other shelf-placement gimmicks, such as picking a name that starts with A or a name that starts with a little-used letter like Q.
Murphy also said,
I’m scarred! Ugh! Thanks for pointing this out, Theresa.
My pleasure. Heh.