With apologies to Mr Shakespeare for corrupting his famous phrase, I wanted to look at pen names – or pseudonyms if you prefer – and whether using one is a good idea or not.
There’s quite a big piece over at Authorhouse on this subject, but I found myself disagreeing with a number of their points, particularly when it comes to using a pseudonym as something to hide behind.
I don’t mean you should use a pen name as a shield to hide behind if you’ve written offensive material, or even controversial material that you don’t want to be identified with. If you’ve got something to say, say it, but if you’re not big enough to stand up and support your ideas then keep them to yourself.
On the other hand, I write in several different markets and I need to put across different messages from different personas to make the best of the marketing opportunities available. In those cases I use pseudonyms. It’s like adopting different characters in different markets. Nothing wrong with that.