Saturday, June 26, 2010

Writers and Readers opinions count

I'm not sure how many of you are writers or
how many of you are readers, but either way,
how do you feel about a writer who writes in
multiple categories. Should they use a different pen
name? or should they use the same name
because you want to see anything they write.

Or does that only apply to authors in print. I know when I find an author
I really like, I chase down everything they've ever written. And then
I'm sad when I finish and there is no more until I find my next great
author to follow. So here we are in a whole new day of publishing.
Does that change anything? Do you still check out whatever you can
find by an author that you like?

And do you read more than one category - say historicals and romantic
suspense...or paranormals and contemporary? Or are you a one category
kind of reader?

I'm a multiple category kind of writer and I'd really like to know your
opinions on this!


  1. Donna, I'm a reader and a writer. I read across all genres. If I find an author I like to read, I want all their books. As a writer, I'm very much a newbie and still finding my niche. At this moment in time I would have to say I would use my pen name for all my writing. Down the road, who knows?

  2. Definitely only one name so I can find you no matter what topic you write. I like reading many genre's and I write three different genre's at this time, breaking into a forth. I find it is important that my non-fiction readers be able to find my fiction and vice versa.

    I did take a pen name (my initials) when one publisher wouldn't allow me to use the (my) name I had published under someplace else.

  3. Thanks ladies. But what if the genres are really opposite extremes?

  4. I'm both a reader and a writer.

    My opinion is that you should keep a single pen name when possible. Some genres are oil and water. You don't want to use the same pen name for Children's/YA and erotica, for instance, but any reasonably close genres should have a certain amount of crossover audience. Your readers can pick and choose books by covers, blurbs, or checking your site, if they are picky.

    In addition to drawing readers to your other works and making it easier to find you, it helps you by not splitting your promo money unnecessarily.

    The only down side? It may be harder to brand yourself.


  5. Hello, I also write and read in various categories. I think as far as using different pen names, well it depends how different the genres are. In some cases, it would be a good idea.

  6. As a reader, I like when an author keeps the same name. Paranormal, suspense, historical, it doesn't matter as long as the book is well written. A book's genre is pretty well identified in the promotional material these days so picking what you're in the mood to read shouldn't be that hard. As a writer, I'm hoping that if/when I switch genres, my name travels with me.

    And yes, as Brenna said, oil and water genres like YA and erotica should definitely be kept separate for the simple fact that more and more children and teens are becoming consumers via the Internet. In which case a separate pen name would probably be a good idea.


  7. Great question. It was fun reading through the comments too.

    I think for ease of getting your name "out there" if at all possible, one name would be more effective for publicity.

  8. I agree with all of you about the name carrying and growing your fan base, but also certain categories shouldn't be tied together. My current problem is inspirational vs. paranormal.

    I have a paranormal being released 10/1, but I have a number of inspy & sweetheart stories that I'm reworking. I've chosen a different name for the paranormal because I don't want to offend or taint this name.

    Am I wrong?

  9. I don't think so, Donna. My fan fic is published all over the net under one name and my original stuff under my real name.

  10. Hi Donna,
    As a writer and a reader, I think using the same name is best no matter how many different genres you write in.



  11. Hmmm...definitely food for thought.


  12. Great question and one I'm pondering. I write mainly contemporary romance with plenty of spice, but I have several young adult projects on the board and I've wondered if I should use the same name. Ceri Hebert is more of a pen name. I really want to use my real name Cerian Hebert though. Not a far jump, but one none the less.

  13. DONNA--good questions. I definitely like an author to use the same name--except for erotic. I do know authors who write both sides, and they always use another name for the erotic version. And what about an author who writes sweet romance, erotic, and YA? She has three names. This wouldn't concern me because I don't read erotic or YA (not my age age!). I remember favorite author's names and look for her books. Why do you think Nora Roberts has her name at the top in bigger letters than the title? (I think this is true)--the publisher knows the value of name recognition. I read and write Western Historical Romance, Contemporary romance, and Women's Fiction--all under my own name. Celia

  14. Donna, this is a great, and thought provoking post. Well done, my friend. I'm a reader and writer - I write across multiple formats (print/electronic) and until recently, multiple genres (as you know, I'm firmly an inspirational girl now :-) ). But I look at my writing in this way: My name is my 'marker,' my brand. If people want to find me, my name is the quickest, easiest and best way to find me, especially in this google-search age of the internet. I always have, and always will, use my name as an author.

  15. Donna, Great post. But you did ask for opinions so, here goes.
    I think most writers are readers. I read both historical and contemporary romance. I read some fantasy, even mysteries. I really don't think the name of a published author has to change, but Jayne Ann Krentz comes to mind.
    She writes under several names and those who read a particular genre know what name to look for. However, for an unpublished author, yes, I think they should use the same name and for the reasons given above.

  16. Hi Donna, Like you, when I like an author, I'll look for anything they've written. And I get tired of writing in the same genre and like to switch around. I've noticed, though, when writers and readers pick up a book by an author they like, and it turns out to be a different genre, they notice and sometimes complain about it. I'm also aware that the publishers like to keep their authors in the same genre, in part because it takes a time and investment to build up a readership for a new author. But writers have to write what's in their hearts and minds, cross genre or not.
    My 2 cents.

  17. I write contemporary, paranormal, and suspense, and I use my real name for all. However, if I were to write anything aimed at the under 18 crowd I would use a pen name. I don't want a kid reading a middle grade novel under my name and then picking up a hot romance novel, thinking it's the same.

  18. I love all the comments and advice so here goes my 2 cents worth.

    I was a reader first (and still am). Now I'm a writer. I'm currently using my name on everything I'm writing (I have one adult sci-fi book and 1 YA paranormal).

    However, I've always liked the idea of using a different pen name for genres that might be extreme or polar opposites from stuff I might write all the time.

    I'm a google baby and I will look for authors based on names and genres. It's always fun and surprising when I learn that the pen name might belong to a more well-known name. I think it's cool. But hey, that's just me.

  19. I love this post, Donna. I perfer that an author write in just one name. When I have a favorite author that I read, I usually keep up on their new releases, whatever they are writing.

    As an author, letting your readers know what type of story you're releasing will keep them from being disappointed if it isn't in a genre they enjoy.

    I have contemporary short eroticas and a paranormal erotic Romance out and make sure my readers don't confuse them, as the eroticas are much hotter. I keep my same name, btw.

  20. One pen name for all books, is my opinion.

    But if your writing erotica and then YA I can see the sense in using a different pen name.


  21. Great discussion. I write mostly romance, but also some general Women's Fiction. I tend to think an author's name defines him/her for the reader. I want to be able to find the authors I love (no matter what they've written), and I hope my readers will feel the same way as well.

    On the flipside...I suppose if one is writing erotica, it might be best to use a pen name.

  22. Wow, thank you ladies for the thought provoking answers. Obviously I had already made the decision by submitting this one under a different pen name because I think readers of Inspy and Sweethearts want to stay away from anything hotter - and my paranormal is definitely very sensual.

    I suppose I could still change that, but I think I'll keep it the same and maybe give hints along the way that I write other stuff under another name. Then if someone wants to find it they won't have to search too hard.

  23. I think one pen name for any genre works out the best. Makes it easier for readers to find you.

    If the author writes for YA and erotic romances then I can see using different pen names. :)

    Great topic.

  24. As a reader, I'll read any genre that interests me and if I like an author, I'll willingly follow into another genre, even one I don't usually read.

    As I writer, I like to experiment with different genres. I started out writing historical, then veered off into paranormal. I use my own name for both. At present, I'm venturing into yet another genre--science fiction romance--and I plan to use my own name there as well.

  25. Thanks for this thought-provoking post. I think I'd probably use different pen names if the genres were widely separate. I have an idea (and could be very wrong) that one publishing house insists their writers use different pen names across genres? I vaguely remember being told this some time ago.

  26. I enjoyed reading your post, Donna, and all the responses. I am a reader and writer. I enjoy following my favourite writers and am thankful when they advertise the fact they write under another name for different genres. This way I get to extend my reading and still follow my favourite authors.
    For those writing - for example Inspi and erotic then I'd egree with most that seperate names would be good.

  27. Thank you everyone for joining in the discussion. Your thoughtful comments are greatly appreciated.