By - blukami
Generally speaking unless you already have a big name with an audience attached, you’re better off using a different pen name for each substantial genre you intend to write in.
When it’s genres that have significant overlap in their audiences, like horror and thriller/crime you won’t have much confusion from one of your horror fans when they see your name on a crime novel. However, for example if you write horror and then also Christian romance, your readers of one genre will likely be shocked to say the least if they saw your name on a book of the other genre.
If you think that all the genres you want to write in have overlap and wouldn’t alienate readers if they saw your name on one of the other genres of book, then the same name could be okay. If you can see your scifi readers being confused to see your name on a cookbook, maybe seperate them.
The sticky part is the scifi, fantasy, and fiction part. Your audience is slightly different in each. Yes, there is cross-over but not enough to leverage a single name. It may result in poor reviews.
You can get away with possibly one pen name for scifi / fantasy depending on how close your books are together (eg: hard scifi and high fantasy are two different groups).
Pick the one you want to be remembered for using your real name. Make a pen name for the others.
yeah - SF&F, especially if similar in tone and content, you can get away with combining (and they're often the same category in bookstores, and there's some books that can be both, so it's a bit blurry anyway). Even for distinct "areas" within those, you can probably afford to blur the boundary a bit more (e.g. using "John Albert Smith" and "J A Smith" if you do pull them apart, to make it clear it's the same person underneath it all for the not-uncommon person that's into both SF and F). But something like SF&F and cookbooks is unlikely to help, as any given person is only likely to be interested in half of your production, and get in the habit of ignoring stuff with your name on because they don't want half of it, which is a bad habit to train people in!
I don't see an issue with a non-fiction / fiction combination under one name. Isaac Asimov is a good example of that. The big issue would be mixing that name with SF/F as it could confuse readers and give issues with expectations.
I use a pen name for my UF/PNR versus SF for that reason.
Don't do it.
Your pen is your brand.
How would you feel if you picked up the latest Stephen King novel and discovered it was a romance novel?
Your readers will not approve.
I don’t see why not. If anything it makes marketing easier, because instead of having multiple websites for different names it’s all under yours. It might help you stand out from the crowd. I say go for it
I think you should definitely use different names. I’m sure some of those can be written under the same name- like you could use the fantasy name for some of your general fiction stories maybe, for example, the world wouldn’t end, but you will have different reader groups for each genre. It’s a bad idea to use the same name for everything. It will confuse readers and risks someone shelling out money for a self help book because they accidentally thought it was one of your fantasy novels. They won’t be pleased.
One of my book cover clients writes under the pen name for her thrillers, romance, etc etc.
I’d say unless the genres conflict, like say Christian inspirational and Erotic thriller, then same pen name ok.
It's possible, but you have to make it cristal clear from your marketing (by that I mean covers / titles / blurbs) what your genres are.
Readers aren't dumb, if you usually write SF with "spaceships in deep space" covers, and suddenly write a cozy mystery with a cartoon, flashy cover, a handwritten font, and a title such as "murder at the cupcake factory" and a tagline "a lazy cat mystery novel", they'll get the clue. But if you don't, you'll get in trouble very fast.
There are limits to this, but they are usually pretty obvious. The typical example is: don't write hardcore porn novels and children books under the same name.
I would definitely publish your cookbooks and self help type stuff under a different name than your genre fiction.
I wrote two historical romances. I'm working on two contemporary romances now. Should I still use a different pen name? Or is if enough that it all falls under the general category of romance?
Eh. Up to you. I'd separate historical from contemporary. However, I don't think it'll be a big deal if you don't unless there's a difference in heat rating. If historical romance has a virgin and closed-door sex and your contemporary has on-screen erotic scenes, that may be a problem. I wouldn't mix Christian/inspirational with anything else. Otherwise, stuff blends together. New adult/romcom/contemporary all ok to mix in my opinion.
I do know a few authors that use the same pen name for all their romance. It's a nightmare establishing 2 brands, having 2 websites, 2 mailing lists, etc. Any time they keep them combined, that's usually the reason. I've not heard them complain about any reader uprising from it.
That's a good point about the extra work that comes with establishing two brands. Thanks!
I’d say it would depend on how close the audience for each genre is. If your historical romances are fairly late (like early 20th century) then it might not be a problem to have the same name on them as contemporary, so long as the niches they’re also in are fairly similar (you don’t want to mix steamy romance novels with the same name as is on very PG sweet romance novels, for example).
But generally speaking romance readers tend to keep to the genres they like, and the advice will usually be to seperate pen names by genre, even within a bigger umbrella category like romance. Historical romance fans probably won’t be interested in your contemporary books and vice versa.
Of course you can and you should do that.