Does an author need a pseudonym? Good question indeed and here’s my .02 after thinking about it for some time. (Yeah, the closer I get to reallly launching my fiction career, the more intense the self-discussions become.)
Let me elminate the suspense right away. In my world, I do need a pseudonym and I’m quite happily pursuing this option. Indeed, have set it up (complete with website/social media accouts and all the necessities of modern writing life.)
But the Reasons Why Are The Most Important
But my reasons really didn’t crystallize for me until I had two conversations this past weekend with two separate friends at two different parties. (Yeah, it’s December of the island and the party season is in full swing.) The first, named Bill, told me I couldn’t give up this blog because it had a ton of great information on it. Point-blank, I told him I was killing it and I confess I probably sounded less than open to his comments. I just didn’t want to have the extra work of carrying one more website and I wasn’t overly open to keeping it around. But like a lot of things, his comment opened the door and I started thinking about what he’d said. The second conversation, with yet another Bill, got me thinking across another spectrum of writing when we wound up talking about some of his favorite fiction authors. He stuffed a few of his pass-along books into my arms and said, “Write like this!” Well, there was more to both conversations than I’ve described, obviously, but both of them met somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain late on Sunday night while sipping a hot cup of tea.
My sci-fi fiction writing self has a bit of a darker city-view side. My other side, my gardening side, is a wide-open-spaces, country boy. Those two sides of my personality, and we all have at least two sides, really don’t belong on the same website.
Bottom line. I need two websites. One for my country life. One for stories that fit the open spaces. And a second for my alternative or sci-fi writing, a place to explore the other boundaries of my mind and words.
To keep the two straight in both my mind and my reader’s minds, I need a pseudonym. I don’t want to confuse the two areas, they’re in different genres, different styles and purposes.
Do I Need More Than One?
Do I need more than one pseudonym? At this point, given I’m writing about the “country-light” and the “city-different” then no. But this may, like a lot of things, change if I find this simple differentiation no longer serves me.
There’s been a bit of a reorganization in my garden writing world over the last few weeks and this will continue as I bring all the content into just two websites. And now, there’s a bit of a reorganization underway for the fiction side of writing as well. Stories will be uploaded here over the next while, podcasts will be repurposed, social media altered. The two sides of my writer’s life will move forward.
Do All Authors Need To Do This?
Frankly, no. I’ve seen some data both ways – pro and con. My practical .02 is that it’s a ton of work to separate and maintain two distinct online identities. So if you don’t have to – don’t. In my case, I have a 30-year garden (Douglas Green) writing career to maintain and the science fiction side already has a Douglas Green. So writing sci-fi under Douglas Green was going to be very confusing for the search engines and readers. I needed a pseudonym.
I note if I write within a third genre, I suspect I wouldn’t have a third pseudonym. I rather like the country-city / light-dark distinction. (But like a lot of things, I reserve the right to change my mind about the future.) 🙂
And oh yeah, thanks Bill.