On the one hand, I’m building a brand so I want to connect as much of my work to me as possible. If readers can go on Amazon and see that I have a few children’s books, a non-fiction for adults, and have published to several adult speculative magazines, I think it increases the value of my brand and makes the buyer feel more secure that my books are worth the investment.
Carl Hiaasen and Orson Scott Card both write for adults and children. Their books are all listed in the jacket of each book, separated by categories. Card has a few non-fictions and Biblical books as well. I think if they used pen names, I would not have found Card’s young adult series or Hiaasen”s adult novels.
On the other hand, I could see the potential problems having an erotica and a picture book under the same name. I think if you write books on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, it might be a good idea to use a pseudo name. But even in that sense, I don’t think kids would pick up your erotica and adults probably wouldn’t care for your picture books. Back to Hiaasen: his adult books are a bit risque, but I doubt his middle grade readers stumble upon them too often on accident. Readers are pretty smart, and with the cataloging in book stores, libraries, and on online venues, it is usually clear if a book is written for adults or children.
The biggest reason I promote all my work under one name, is because it’s hard enough to market for one brand, let alone build up name recognition and spend time promoting multiple brands. At one point, I put all my adult stories under a tab on my website labeled ’14 and up only’ to separate my adult horror from my middle grade material. I’m not sure if it even made a difference.
The only brand separation I have done is to create the www.awriterforlife.com brand, which is focused on not just authors, but also small business owners in regards to marketing, editing, and writing services. Since I am targeting small businesses, I feel it is necessary to branch off into this separate brand; however, both websites point back to each other.
For today, I love to write a variety of stories for multiple audiences, and since I haven’t been uber successful in any particular niche, such as a middle-grade or picture book or horror author, etc, I don’t feel the need at this time to separate my work into multiple personalities. I guess if I published a successful children’s book and then decided to write an adult horror, I would most likely use a pen name.
What are your thoughts? To Pen or Not to Pen?