Here is my reply to the thread. I'd love to get your opinions on using pseudonyms. What are your pros and cons? When would you use one or not? Post a comment and let me know. note: this is not a question for writers only; artists, photographers, actors, dancers ... let me know. To be You or not to be You, that is the question.
My post from the discussion thread in my online writing community:
I've thought about a pen name off and on since I've been writing. As a teenager I did pick out a pen name - I don't think I ever submitted anything under it ... and I still remember it, although now it seems pretty lame - it was a 70s name after all *grin*.
I, too, considered at one time going with pseudonyms for different genres. But I figure now, with the easy access information age, what's the point? Pseudonyms are pretty simple to discover - although I'm sure there are authors hiding that we don't know about yet :-) .
I like the concept of a "brand" and can see that - and isn't that what the 'platform' age of writing is about (ooops, is my bias showing?!!). I could see doing that if I was doing a couple of really disparate genres that might not mix well. Or not.
And when I first started venturing into memoir - oh, the shock! No, I can't do that. I have to change the names and change my name... But the reality is - and I just saw an article yesterday that said a similar thing - that people believe my fiction more than they believe my memoir; some of the feedback I've gotten on some parts of the memoir are things like "but she would never do/say/feel/react that way..." - but I did. And in the fiction, there are comments like "it's so real".
And I read some other famous author who said that memoir is that one person's perspective and others in the same situation may have experienced it differently. And I have only to look at my mother and her twin sister - they have pretty different perspectives on some things from their childhood and they are identical twins and were raised together. So, if someone hollers about things in the memoir - well, it's MY story.
So I decided that I would probably just be me - even though "Dot Hearn" doesn't roll off the tongue, is awkward, harsh, not memorable ... But it's me writing. Sometimes I just sign things Dot.
Sometimes I want to get rid of the last name - change it; I don't want to carry around my family name. But haven't found anything that sticks with me. Maybe if I ever come up with a line of greeting cards I'll brand them with something else. Or start writing erotic noir stories. Maybe.
And maybe I like being complex. Or maybe I'm just being rebellious against the notion that I have to make myself into a character in order to succeed as a writer and need to build a platform around an image. Can't I just be me and write the stories - letting them speak for themselves? Do I have to be slotted into a mold?
I am trying to build my writing business name, that's how I'm "branding" - but I think I'll keep with my name as the author, as the writer. At least for now.
drawing from "Words With No Names" on wordpress