Monday, June 25, 2018

Pros and Cons to Having a Pen Name by Chrys Fey

To have a pen name or not to have a pen name. That is the question.

Many writers just starting out or who are contemplating publishing for the first time (including published authors considering publishing under a different genre) wonder if they need a pen name or not. Well, need is a silly way to think of a pen name. No, you don’t need a pen name. But do you want one? That question could leave writers divide. Yes and no, they’d probably say. So how can they decide? Weighing the pros and cons, of course!

Take a look at the list below. As you read them, create your own pros and cons tally. Do you love a pro? Add a tally under pros. Does one of the cons bother you? Add a tally under cons.

Now, are you ready?

Pen Name Pros:
1. You can tailor your pen name to your brand (the genres your write and your image). Imagine the last name Law for a writer of crime mysteries.
2. Stand out with a unique pen name (if you have a common name). My real name is very common, but Chrys Fey is unique, which is why I love it.
3. Anonymity. No one has to know it’s you. You can even keep it a secret from your friends and family. Or at the very least, it’s anonymous in that no one has your real name.
4. You could use a pen name to publish in a specific genre far from what you usually publish.
For example, say you published non-fiction under your real name, but now you want to publish erotica or paranormal romance, you could use a pen name to distinguish the two.
5. You can create an identity/persona not unlike yourself but more mysterious, romantic, or fun, depending on your brand/pen name.
6. You can honor someone you love by using their initials or first name as part of your pen name.
7. How you thought of your pen name is a story you can share later when you publish.
8. Gender neutral pen name. Sometimes, you want to attract a specific readership or all readers, regardless of gender. A gender-neutral pen name can help with this.
9. If your name is hard to pronounce, a pen name is a good idea to make it easier on book buyers, publishers, agents, and…yes...readers. The pen name doesn’t even have to be so different. You could easily shorten your name to a nickname or use half of your last name.
10. You can use a pen name to “start fresh.” If you want to distance yourself, for whatever reason, from another pseudonym or from your real name, a pen name can help with this, especially if you create a new persona and go for anonymity.

Pen Name Cons:
1. You don’t want to lie in your bio just because you have a pen name. Be truthful. However, you can use your pen name’s persona to make your bio’s tone fit your brand.
2. If you use a pen name to publish under a different genre, you have to start fresh with building a readership for your pen name, especially if you don’t reveal you are the author. Even if you let your readers know, you’ll have to learn to target a different set of readers.
3. It takes times to come up with a pen name you want to be known by…forever.
4. You have to get used to people referring to you by another name. At first, it can be weird.
5. You have to practice signing another name. And remember to sign it, too! Signing your real name would be a big OOPS!
6. You can’t make your readers feel as though you’re not real, so don’t be over-the-top or pretend to be what you’re not. Be a real person but with a different name.
7. You have to set up accounts for Facebook, Twitter, and all social media platforms for your pen name, which means having to build followers from 0. You’ll need a new website, too, which could mean two if you plan to publish under different names.
8. If you want to protect your name, you’ll have to copyright under your pen name. Copyright done with a real name lasts for the life of the author plus 80 years. Copyright done with a pen name is protected for 95 years starting from the publication date.
9. You have to make sure to fill in your pen name whenever you do something publishing related, such as submitting a query letter or entering a contest.
10. Promoting under two names can be a strain, unless you combine your accounts and let readers in on your secret.

Some of these may not apply to you, and many of these cons can be conquered. Basically, the decision falls under whether you want your books to have your real name on them and if you want readers to know you by your real name. Even if you use a pen name, though, that doesn’t mean it’s not you. You become that name and will feel a sense of pride seeing it on your books.

If you like the idea of using a pen name to your advantage, then do it.

If you’ve already published under your real name and think managing a pen name on top of that will be too hard, then you don’t need one.

Consider each pro and each con. Ask yourself what you envision, what you want. Then stick by that choice. Pen names are great, but so is using your birth name.

There is no right answer for everyone, only the right answer for you.

For more information like this check out:

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication by Chrys Fey

Barnes & Noble / iTunes /Kobo / Amazon

BIO: Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book! From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. Fey is an editor for Dancing Lemur Press and runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Goodreads book club. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog Write With Fey for more tips. @ChrysFey Website: Chrys Fey

There’s also a giveaway:

Do you have a pen name or considered using one?

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

IWSG and News, Write With Fey, Bayou Writers Conference

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

I’m a day early because a new book comes out today that is perfect for writers.

Today’s question - What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Neither, really. Most of my characters came to me pre-named. Others came from the Bible. (Matthew, Mark, James, etc.) My fiction series title was a suggestion from my husband and my non-fiction books are titled after seminars I teach. So, I don’t find either challenging.

I’m speaking at several events this fall, including the Bayou Writers Conference in Lake Charles, Louisiana. “A Bridge to Publication Conference” takes place on October 13 and all writers are welcome. I'm doing one session and taking pitches from writers that day.
Plus! I have brochures for the event. If you live within driving distance of Lake Charles, LA (western LA, near Texas border) and would like some brochures to share with other writers, please leave a comment. I’m happy to share them with you. (I live 1000 miles away and not many writers here will be making that trip. LOL!)

IWSG News:

The IWSG anthology contest opens September 5th.
The genre - YA romance.
The theme will be announced on September 5th, so don’t miss it.

The next IWSG Twitter Pitch Event is July 19th. Get the details about #IWSGPit at the site - rules, hashtags, hours, etc. This is the 3rd IWSG hosted pitch party and there are hundreds upon hundreds of agents and publishers invited to check the stream that day.
Do pitch parties work? Yes! Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. signed Sherry Ellis and her book, Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China, comes out on September 4th.

The July IWSG post day will be on Tuesday, July 3rd instead of Wednesday, July 4th. (Fourth of July national holiday here in the United States.)

Today, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C./Freedom Fox Press is delighted to announce the release of an amazing book that’s perfect for writers! 

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You From Idea to Publication by Chrys Fey

Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.
• Spark One: Being a Writer
• Spark Two: Story Essentials
• Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
• Spark Four: How To
• Spark Five: Character ER
• Spark Six: Editing
• Spark Seven: Publishing
• Spark Eight: Marketing
• Spark Nine: Writing About
• Spark Ten: Final Inspiration
With so much information, you’ll take notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your writing journey.

Available June 5, 2018
6x9 trade paperback, 370 pages, Freedom Fox Press
Creative Writing / Publishing / Marketing
$19.95 Print ISBN 9781939844484
$5.99 eBook ISBN 9781939844491

“Publishing a book can seem overwhelming, but Chrys Fey breaks it down in this indispensable guide for writers. Fey's step-by-step instructions and encouraging style help with everything from pre-writing to marketing a published book.” - Elizabeth S. Craig, author

“Solid, sound basic writing book for the writing daring to be an author. The "10 Sparks" cover a wealth of topics with abbreviated, concise guidance, giving authors a fantastic place to check off all the necessities.” ~C. Hope Clark, The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries, Founder of

“A must-read book for those who are serious about writing, but are clueless or doubtful of their writing capabilities. I would suggest this book to all who write as a desk reference book - it will be worth it!” 5 stars - Readers Favorites

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series and an editor for Dancing Lemur Press. She started her blog, Write with Fey, to offer aspiring writers inspiration, advice, and hope. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, and since then she has been a dedicated citizen in the writing world.

Again, if you live in Louisiana or Texas and would like some brochures for the writers conference in October, please leave a comment.

Now, are you ready to Write With Fey? Visit her site and enter to win some really cool writing swag.