Hi guys, and welcome to part two of How To Publish Your Ebook. Now, I know a lot of you are dying to get down to brass tacks, but we have a few more things to talk about before you can truly approach the publishing process with your eyes wide open. And one of those things is a question I’m pretty sure every new author struggles with when publishing first crosses their mind: should I use a pseudonym?
Some writers decide to publish under a pseudonym without hesitation, and rightfully so. After all, nobody wants to Google their kid’s second grade school teacher to pull up an erotica author. For some writers, pseudonyms simply make sense. But some doesn’t mean all, and some is the minority. If you’ve deliberated about this topic whatsoever, chances are you don’t need a pen name. Deliberating means you aren’t sure that you need it at all.
So what’s stopping you from publishing under your legal name? Maybe you’re embarrassed about what you’ve written, or maybe you’re worried that it’ll fail and your name will be tarnished by the ‘failed author’ badge forever. Here’s a newsflash for you: unless what you’ve written will jeopardize your current job, being embarrassed and afraid of failure is a pretty lame excuse. As an author, you should be proud of your work, not ashamed that you’ve created it. If you’re genuinely embarrassed or seriously scared of failure, you may want to ask yourself if you’re ready to publish at all.
Here’s something else to consider: having a pseudonym creates an alternate you, and an alternate you means you’ll have to manage your real self and your author self; that’s double-duty, and double the work. You’ll see why this will quickly become a problem when we talk about self-marketing and connecting with your audience, but it’s a pretty simple concept to grasp. It’s a lot easier to connect with people while marketing yourself if you’re, well, yourself.
I once saw a guy tweet something that really confused me. His book had just been released, so he said ‘well, it’s time to start a new twitter account for my book! Gotta keep the author and the work separate.’ Is it just me, or does that confuse you too? That’s like a car company making a separate website for each model they make, or Baskin Robbins having 31 websites for each flavor of ice cream. It baffles me that people would do this to themselves. To me, it feels like if you take that kind of a step back from your work, it’s almost as though you don’t want it to be your work at all. After all the blood, sweat, and tears you put into your book, you’re kicking it out the door and telling it to fend for itself.
As a self-professed Twitter-head and Facebook veteran, I’ve learned one thing about being a writer and connecting to people through social media. People like to connect to the author. Sure, they may love your book; they may sing its praises to everyone they know… but they’re less likely to do it if they can’t connect to you personally. Separating the author from the work might be a security blanket for you, the writer, but it isn’t going to win you any fans. And since we’re talking about publishing your first ebook, that should be a concern. You want to draw in readers, not alienate them.
With that said, back to pseudonyms. Do you take one? Do you use your own name? I struggled with this question as well, but it took me all of twenty-four hours to decide it was a silly thing to worry about. Like many of you, I’ve been waiting to be published for a good long time, so to publish under a different name… it felt like I was betraying that dream I’ve had for so long, at least a little bit.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to decide how you’re going to publish your work. If you decide to go with a pen name, great… but remember that it will make extra work for you down the line. So unless you really need it, being yourself is probably the best idea.
Until next time!