Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why Bother with a Pseudonym?

Please, welcome my mysterious guest, the author known as Reflective Bookworm. The facts I've gleaned from my intriguing friend are these: R.B. was born in the North East of England, traveled a great deal with her father (a member of the RAF) and has a love of adventure. RB's first novel, The Darkness Through The Light, is currently in the stages of being self-published.  I've included R.B.'s photo here.  Perhaps, dear readers, we shall soon be able to put a name to this lovely face. In the meantime, let us enjoy R.B.'s post. 

Anne Rice
LewisCarroll, George Orwell, James Herriot, Mark Twain, Anne Rice, J.D Robb, J.KRowling and names that I'm sure you have no problem recognizing but all of these Author's have something in common. They are all pseudonyms. But why go to the trouble of creating books that touch the hearts of people worldwide and not even put your real name on it?

There are a number of reasons:

  • A lot of Authors back in the day felt that the genre that they flourished in was dominated by one gender so to become accepted, they needed to change their name.
  • Some used a pseudonym to avoid causing scandal for their families or themselves. For example, if I found out that my Mother was the mastermind between 50 Shades of Grey, I would never live it down (she's not by the way!).
  • Nora Roberts was massive in the romance genre but decided to branch out into Detective novels, her agent thought it would be a good idea to use a pseudonym. It worked of course but when her fans found out that she was one and the same, they accepted her wholeheartedly anyway!

J.K Rowling
As you can see, I blog under a pseudonym and when I go to publish I will use a pseudonym as well. Why? Because I am afraid, pure and simple. I don't want to pour my heart and soul into a book only to have someone I went to school with say, "What the hell did you write a book for?" or "Oh please, it's never going to work out so wake up."

Only a handful of people that I know have read my book and it took a lot for me to open up about it but I've had amazing feedback from them all. One of my dear friends even slipped up and told her big brother, and my close friend, all about my book because she just had to tell someone. His reaction? "Wow, RB, I didn't know you had it in you. I'm really proud of you though."

You might be thinking, "Why do you care what other people think?" and it's The Million Pound Question but I do care what people think, too much sometimes. Maybe one day, I'll come out of the literary closet and tell everyone my real name but for now I'm content with RB.

Of course, writing under a pseudonym won't be moonlight and roses. There are a couple of things that you need to seriously consider.

  • By using a pseudonym, the copyright of your material could be shortened.
  • Processing royalties and filing tax returns can become quite complicated (which would take up your writing time!).
  • God forbid legal problems ever arise but if they did, using a pseudonym might not work in your favour. Some states reason that the name doesn't actually have any legal authority.
The best thing to do is always to do research, over and over until your mind boggles with legislation and html code. Always check with your local Government/Copyright office and definitely have a word with your Citizens Advice Bureau because they might have a few pointers!

Suggested Resources:

So, now I open this up to you, friends, do you use a pseudonym? And, if you do, why?

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