To Pseudonym or Not? That Is the Question. Or, It Worked for Judy Blume…

Should writers use different names for different genres? Using me as an example, I have a non-fiction book coming out in July, I have an idea for a fantasy novel, I’m working on a paranormal romance, I’ve submitted erotica, and I came up with a fun idea for a children’s book this morning. Should all of those appear under one name?

I’m not sure. Judy Blume used one name for all of her writing (at least all that I know about). She wrote kids books and adult books. I never “accidentally” read any of her adult books until I was ready emotionally to handle the subject matter. The fact that she wrote things that could serve me well at all stages of my life is appealing to me. I find the right stories by looking in the right section of the bookstore or library.

But, this was quite a few years ago. Publishing seems to have changed in such a way that it is essential to brand a variant of your name for each genre—or a completely different name, as is the case with Jessica Bird and J.R. Ward. The goal is not to shield yourself from what you write in each genre, but to let readers know what to expect when they pick up one of your books. In my example, that would be 3-5 different author names, each with its own platform.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear from authors who did it both ways. And from agents and editors who have worked with authors who pseudonymed and those who didn’t.

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