I'm happy to welcome Shana Galen to SlingWords. Shana is the author of numerous fast-paced adventurous Regency historical romances, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne's Bride.
Her books have been sold worldwide and featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. Shana, once an English teacher in Houston's inner city, is now a full time writer. She's also a wife, a mother, and, in her own words, "an expert multi-tasker."
Shana's latest release is The Rogue Pirate's Bride. Gorgeous cover, isn't it?
You can find Shana on Facebook and also at Jaunty Quills. Now, please welcome my friend Shana Galen.
Why Use a Pseudonym?
By Shana Galen
One of the first decisions a new author must make when she sells is whether or not to write under a pen name. When I sold, I was more or less told I would have to write my historical romances under a pseudonym. I was also told I could write under my real name for my chick lits. So I've been on both sides of the fence.
Let's start with the assumption that when you sell, you will have a choice. Why do so many authors choose to write using a pen name? Ask three authors and you'll get three different responses. The most typical response has to do with privacy concerns.
Your day job might be a factor in whether or not you use a pen name. Since I was teaching in a middle school at the time of my sale, I didn't mind using a pseudonym and neither did my employers. School administrators do prefer that romance writers use pseudonyms. They don't want to deal with parental complaints over material that might be considered "objectionable."
Since I've never used my married name on a book, none of my students or their parents were aware that the seventh grade English teacher had published books. It was lovely not to deal with unhappy parents-if any really would have cared-but since I did teach writing, it was frustrating to have to be so careful not to blatantly use my own experiences as a writer in the classroom.
Sometimes family concerns are an issue. Perhaps you have a husband or wife in a career where advancement might be hampered by the boss's judgmental opinions. If you have children, as I do, you might also consider maintaining their privacy through the use of a pen name. We all know there are crazy people out there, and we are responsible for protecting our families.
Keeping business and private life separate is another factor to consider. It's much easier to do if you have a separate email for your author correspondence and a separate author page on Facebook. I know authors who mixed the two and then had to go back and make changes because they didn't want fans to know all of their personal information.
Like me, authors choose to write different types of books under different names. This can be a tricky decision because it makes cross-promotion difficult. But some authors feel like the books are different enough that different names are required to brand the book and let the reader know what she is buying.
This differentiation is particularly important if you write both young adult and adult novels. Kids may choose to read your work under all of your pen names, but parents will appreciate the clarity of knowing the content of one book is geared for kids, while the content of another is not.
Of course, many authors only write one type of book. If privacy is not a concern, your name itself might be.
What's in a Name?
My real name, Shane Bolks, is not a very romantic-sounding name, so I was not surprised when my editor asked me to change it on my historical romances. From a marketing standpoint, a "Shane Bolks" can hardly compete on a historical romance shelf littered with names like Johanna Lindsey and Julia Quinn. Some names just sound more romantic.
I didn't have a name in mind when I was told to adopt a pseudonym. I told my editor I wanted to be shelved between Gabaldon and Garwood. She came back with Shana (a variation of Shane) and Galen, which fits nicely between two of my favorite authors.
It is strange to see a name other than your own on your book, and there's a certain thrill when you see your real name on that bookstore shelf. I must admit that seeing Shane Bolks on the cover of my now defunct chick lits did make me feel a little bit exposed. Now that I'm married, Shane Bolks has also become a pen name, and I find I like it that way. I prefer a division between business and personal. In the end, this is a decision that always comes back to personal preference.
Are you considering using a pseudonym? Why or why not? What factors influence your decision? I'll be checking in all day and would love to read your comments. One person who comments will be randomly chosen to win a signed copy of my latest release, The Rogue Pirate's Bride.
The generosity of authors in sharing their knowledge always amazes me. I hope you will thank Shana by putting her on your "to be read" list.
P. S. Be sure and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Rogue Pirate's Bride.