It was not originally the plan for me to use a pen name for my work. Why wouldn’t I want everyone to know I’d written something that was published, something they could go and read and think, ‘I know that guy’, something that would tickle my ego.
So why the change of approach?
Initially, the plan was to speak to almost nobody until my book was on the shelf. In retrospect, the idea was ridiculous. You need to engage with people so that the only opinion on your work isn’t your own. I showed my wife, she loved it. She would, she’s nice like that. You need an unbiased opinion and that can only come by engaging with authors and readers who frankly don’t give a damn about you. If they like the story, they will tell you. If there are more holes than Swiss Cheese, they will tell you.
I wanted to converse with others about my story without letting my own world know I’m working on it. There are reasons for this and these are covered in the points below but ultimately, it still feels like I’m keeping my cloak of secrecy intact whilst gaining the invaluable benefit of others who know more than I do about the industry. I have a blog, a twitter account, a facebook account, and an email address all with my new identity. It feels unbelievably liberating.
Another reason is my career, not the dream of writing but the one that ensures the mortgage is paid. I have a good job, I manage a reasonably large team and as I result, I do a lot of recruitment. The first stage is normally a telephone interview and the second is to invite them in for a face to face. However, there is an unpublished stage between those which is for me to get onto Social Media and make sure they aren’t a serial killer waiting to happen. I am concerned that potential employers might see my writing ambitions as a threat to my commitment to my job. The pen name alleviates this concern.
Do you have a pen name? What reason did you choose to have that name rather than your own?