When Should We Start Building Our Platform?
In my post about book pirates and plagiarism, I mentioned that book bloggers and reviewers are now more wary of debut authors, especially those who are self-published. I don’t blame them.
Some people out there are willing to do an insane amount of work to fake legitimacy. A book blogger exposed one author who created fake “sock-puppet” accounts pretending to be a fellow book blogger so he/she could talk up a new release he/she just “discovered.” Yes, really.
In the Jordin Williams case I discussed last week, James Bishop created a Goodreads group and populated it with his many personas to make it look like a hopping place to discuss hot new releases. Er, or a place to pimp the plagiarized books he’d stolen and assigned to each of his many names.
We can shake our heads and protest that they’d find the success they’re trying to manufacture by spending time actually, you know, writing instead of carrying on conversations with their sock-disguised selves. But how can we—normal, non-faker, non-insane, non-plagiarist, nobody authors—get attention when we’re competing with all that effort?
Think Long Term for Platform Building Too
Those who create fake legitimacy aren’t in this for the long haul. They’ll be caught (or burn out) long before they reach a ten-years-in-publishing or a twenty-release (per persona) milestone.
Those of us who plod along, watching the big picture, making incremental progress, are more likely to reach those goals. Yeah, turtle-like slow-and-steady progress isn’t as sexy as a big breakout, but we’ll build readers one release to the next.
Similarly, we’ll be better off if we keep that same long-term attitude for our approach to social media and building our platform. Platform? Don’t freak out at the word. A “platform” is nothing more than a method for getting our message out.
While we don’t want our writing time to suffer for platform building, we also shouldn’t put off getting involved with social media or blogging or whatever-our-platform-strategy-is-going-to-be until the last minute. That’s like expecting a debut breakout from fake involvement.
Building a real platform with real people takes time. We need to find a balance for both our writing and platform-building needs.
Perspective from the Other Side
Let’s put ourselves into the shoes of a book blogger for a minute. We receive tons of review requests and get to pick and choose the books that sound interesting to us.
Let’s say we’d like to pick a debut author for next month’s review opening. If we don’t have a policy against reviewing self-published books (many reviewers—if not most—have such a policy, simply to avoid having to deal with unprofessional authors), we might have a choice between two self-published books that sound good.
“Hmm, this author is new to Twitter and Faceback and doesn’t have a blog. We don’t have any way of knowing if they’re a reasonable person, or if they’ll freak out if we give them a bad review. They could be oozing crazy for all we know.
This other author has been on Twitter and Facebook and blogging for a year and a half. Oh look, from Twitter and their blog comments, it looks like they’re friends with so-and-so and we know they’re a reasonable person. Also, there’s no sign of them engaging in any bad author behaviors.”
Which book would you choose to review? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d certainly go for the second choice.
And that would be my choice before we even take into account the plagiarism issue. Once we add in the risk that a debut author with nothing real and long term to their name or their platform might also be a plagiarizing scammer, I’d be even less likely to take option #1.
I don’t blame book reviewers for this attitude in the slightest. It’s the same decision I’d make. Especially when we hear about book bloggers facing accusations of being an accomplice to a plagiarist when they choose wrong.
Let me repeat that: A book blogger faced biting accusations simply because she chose to read the wrong book. Yikes.
What Makes Us Real to Others?
If I were a book blogger, I wouldn’t want to take the risk with anyone who didn’t have some kind of paper trail.
- How long have they been active on Twitter or Facebook or Goodreads? At least six months to a year?
- Do they interact and engage with others as people, or just in sales mode?
- Are they friends—real friends—with anyone we know or trust?
- Have others met them in person?
- Are there candid shots of them on Facebook?
- Are they members of a writing group like RWA?
- Do they have a blog and sound reasonable?
In short, just as I wouldn’t turn my blog over to a stranger for a guest post, I wouldn’t feel safe reviewing a book that might come back to hurt my reputation.
Notice that in those questions, I didn’t list anything about numbers of followers or friends. Why? Numbers can be faked. Between sock puppets and buying followers, anyone can look popular with numbers.
This isn’t about popularity; this is about being real.
For myself, I can say yes to all of the above. (Well, except the “sound reasonable” part. That’s subjective and I confess to my own brand of insanity. *smile*)
This is one reason why the “Create a Persona” workshop sponsored by the FF&P chapter of RWA I mentioned in last week’s post aggravated me so much. There’s a huge difference between using a pen name and faking a whole persona—and not just because a fake persona would fail the above test.
I Don’t Trust Fake Personas, Only Real People
Pen names have been used in the publishing industry for centuries, and many authors have good reasons for using them, the most modern reason being Google-ability. Pen names don’t require us to become a different person. We can still be “us” and be real, just with a “nickname.”
On the other hand, fake personas, when people pretend to be a completely different person—different personalities, likes, dislikes, hobbies, day jobs, family life, etc.—are a red flag to me and probably others. At that point, there’s nothing real.
Personally, someone who treats their career as an “act” doesn’t inspire me to trust them. Let me put it this way, in the case of a fake persona, who would I be trusting?:
The fake persona that doesn’t exist?
Or the person behind the persona who I know nothing about?
Um, no thanks. I’ll say neither.
A Case Study in Fake Personas: JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith
Even JK Rowling recently got in trouble for not being real—not for using a pen name, but for using a fake bio. Many are calling her out for coming up with such a specifically dishonest “About the Author” section for The Cuckoo’s Calling:
“After several years with the Royal Military Police, Robert Galbraith was attached to the SIB (Special Investigation Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMO. … The idea for the protagonist Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences…”
If she really wanted this book to stand on its own merits, why use a marketing-dream bio rather than claiming to be something like a teacher or a paper-pusher? Some are even calling her bio “consumer fraud,” as such details of falsified military service can influence purchase decisions by lending unwarranted credibility for a story about an ex-military private investigator.
Likely in an attempt to make up for the blunder, which many who did serve in the military saw as disrespectful, JK Rowling has announced she’s donating all royalties from the book for the next three years to The Soldiers’ Charity. I appreciate the gesture, but I don’t like the precedent she’s set.
We wouldn’t give a pass to a non-fiction author’s claims of false expertise (“Twenty years of experience as a child psychologist…”). And think of the outcry when James Frey falsely claimed his novel was a memoir. Readers deserve to know when details presented as facts (with the intent to mislead rather than amuse) are actually fiction.
Being Real: A Real Platform and a Real Persona
When we send out review requests, we’re essentially asking a favor. In return, reviewers have every right to want some sort of proof to trust us. Their reputation is on the line if we turn out to be a plagiarist.
What will provide that proof? When we have real connections who can vouch for us or make introductions, and when we’re consistent in how we deal with our connections. For that, we need a platform built with real people (not purchased) and our real persona that can interact with others on a long-term basis.
I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s already a heck of a lot of work to create a platform long before we’re going to need it. Just think how much more work it would be to spend a year or more on setting up a platform for a fake persona. It’s easier to be real.
Pen names, switched genders, silliness, and not giving details about our private lives are all acceptable and understandable. (I’m always vague about my family and day job in the interest of privacy, and my bio usually includes one obviously-not-to-be-believed line like “After building a Fortress of Solitude from books in her to-be-read pile, Jami…”)
However, fake personas are straight-up lies. That’s the problem with using a fake persona–authenticity and genuineness are lost. And in this world of scammers and plagiarists, we need to have a long-term track record of being real, or we can’t expect strangers to trust us. *smile*
Do you think our platforms can help us establish our authenticity? At what point do you think we should build our platform? Is this plagiarism concern a good argument for why we need a social media platform? How else could book bloggers verify our real-ness? Do you agree with my dislike of fake personas? What do you think of JK Rowling’s choice to use a fake bio?Pin It
Jami, this is invaluable information. I agree with you, I’d choose the second author (the one you mentioned that is on FB and Twitter, has a blog and is followed by a friend) too.
I definitely think that the scourge of plagiarism is a good reason to have a platform…not the only reason, as you’ve shown in this post, but a really good reason. I’m glad I have a platform and a following. I’m not one of those people with thousands of friends or tweeps, but I have lots of people I think would be on my side when it comes to kn owing I’m a real person with real views and my OWN work 🙂
Great post, Jami!
Have a wonderful afternoon,
Exactly! As I said, it’s not about the numbers of popularity, but about the quality of those connections. Would they vouch for us? 🙂 Thanks for the comment!
Great post, Jami. I spent a long time working on my blog platform, but recently lost it due to issues with Google and renewing my domain. I had to start a new blog. Fortunately I’ve been blogging with querytracker for the past few years and have been busy tweeting for just as long, most recently with big names in NA. Your post gave me hope, considering what happened to my blog. Thanks!!!!
Oh no! I didn’t hear about your domain issues when it happened. Did you check with a tech person to see if anything could be done? I hope you were able to access your old content and copy it over anyway. Contact @jaytechdad (my tech guy) for any assistance if you want.
Your comment gives the perfect example for why having multiple ways of getting in touch with our platform (blog, Twitter, FB, mailing list, etc.) is smart. Good luck getting everything back together and thanks for the comment!
Well Jami, this certainly is an eye opener. I wasn’t bothered by JK Rowling’s use of a pen name. I understand she wanted the book judged on it’s own merits, not on her reputation. I actually thought more highly of her for it. This is the first I hear of the fake bio. Do we know that she actually wrote it, or perhaps was it her assistant or publisher? In any case, if one uses a pen name, one must make up some sort of bio to go with it. I’m not sure I find it all that terrible. If her book was non-fiction and she claimed expertise she didn’t have, that would be a whole other kettle of fish.
However, as for all that other stuff, fake personas for fake authors who have stolen other people’s work–Meh! Nasty and pathetic.
Thanks for bringing this up. Lots to think about.
Hi Leslie, Oh, I completely understand why she’d use a different name. I kind of love why she did that actually. 🙂 My only concern was about the fake bio. The vast majority of authors who use pen names don’t make up completely falsified bios. Vague or even exaggerated, sure. 🙂 But 100% false, no. Authors seem to be mixed on the issue of how “bad” it was for her to use that bio. Readers, from what I’ve seen seem to be more evenly against it unless they’re such huge JKR fans that they’re willing to forgive anything. The vast majority of comments were that readers a) sometimes use the bios for purchase decisions, b) want to feel a connection to the real person behind the words, c) and simply expect author bios to be non-fiction unless obviously tongue-in-cheek (I think the World War Z bio refers to the zombie apocalypse as fact, making it clear that it, too, is fiction). In other words, creating a fake bio risks alienating the readers looking for a connection to us. Ditto for a fake persona like these other plagiarists and scammers. Basically, refusing to connect to the reader in such a simple way is the author saying, “I want your money, but I don’t want you.” That’s a good question about whether or not she wrote the bio, and I haven’t heard her address the issue one way or the other. Most authors write their own bios, but JKR is in a… — Read More »
As a book blogger, I am willing to review self-published books (though my review policy makes it very clear I hold those authors books to the same standards I have of a Big 6 published book, and I think that’s scared off a lot of authors *grins*) and here’s one other thing I’d add to the list of questions: Do they provide you with buy links? Do they even know what they ARE? I’ve been fortunate to review a few books for self-pub or smaller press authors where I’m not sure what their reach is, and when I ask for buy links, they’re able to provide me with at least the names of the retail outlets where the books can be pre-ordered or purchased. I had a request recently where the author didn’t know what a buy link was. Frankly, if I have to explain it to you, and you’re self-published, you haven’t done your research and you’re not ready to publish. If I like the book enough to recommend it, I want my readers to have an easy time finding it.
Fantastic point! Yes, other questions we (as book bloggers) could add to that list would be things like those buy links, did they follow the instructions for making a request, did they include the necessary information, etc. As you said, those items give insight to how professional and knowledgeable the author is. Thanks for the great comment!
Rowling’s bio doesn’t bother me. I think she was probably just having a little fun with it (just like when she wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them under the name Newt Scamander). I mean, who really reads the bio anyway? I can’t imagine having a dream bio would sway anyone to buy the book.
Great point about the fake bio in some of her other books. However, in those cases, the bio was obviously fake, so they’re not misleading the reader. In this case, the bio was meant to appear real and factual.
In other words, with the Newt bio, readers are pulled further into the Harry Potter universe, feeling like they’re understanding an inside joke by reading the bio. With the Cuckoo bio, the false information pushes readers away, preventing them from connecting to the author or the story’s world.
As for the bio being an element of a purchasing decision, it depends on the genre. In romance, an unfortunate stereotype is that men can’t write romance, so although there are plenty of male romance authors, they use a female pen name. Their real identities are an “open secret,” so it’s more about having the “right” kind of name on the cover for a potential reader to be willing to check out the book.
Similarly, genres that are seen as requiring specialized knowledge (police procedural, medical thrillers, military, etc.) often require a certain kind of bio to indicate to the reader that yes, the author has that knowledge. Other genres would find that concept very odd (I didn’t study dragons in school–darn! 😉 ), so it just depends. Thanks for the comment!
What an interesting question. Where is the line between pen name and outright fraud? Does the line shift if you are a famous author?
George Eliot may never have been taken seriously without a pseudonym.
How did Nora Roberts do it with J.D. Robb? She wasn’t discovered until quite a few J.D. Robb novels had been published. There had to have been a fake bio involved.
Our tolerance for fake personas is changing with the advent of intense on-line social networking and commenting because those of us who expose ourselves truthfully may end up engaging with frauds. And, in the words of Mrs. Dashwood, “It’s not to be borne.” Responds Elinor, “We must bear it.”
That’s a good question about Nora/J.D., and don’t know the answer to that. However, if we think about what the typical “About the author” section says, it’s often very vague (especially back several years ago). They often say something along the lines of so-and-so has been writing for so many years, or dreamed of writing as a child, they live in such-and-such place with their family/pets, etc.
In other words, most pen name bios don’t connect directly to the person (giving pet names or city where they live, etc.) but aren’t saying anything out-and-out false either. If we think even about our own author bio, we might use one version for our website, another for guest posts, another for queries, and yet another for the back of a book. I could easily come up with completely different sentences and details for each of those, while keeping all facts accurate.
As I mentioned to Leslie above, if we think of our author bio as another way to connect to readers, we’ll have a better understanding of why false personas will hurt that connection. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!
Wow! I almost don’t know what to say, and you know “Speechless” is not my default mode… Still, I have my cents to cash in- First, I admit the fake bio on JKR’s pen name mystery was a letdown, this is first I’d heard of that, I HOPE it was done without her knowledge (That happens sometimes, Jami), but I can understand the pen name. I still think she’s a REAL WRITER, this is just sadly a mark against her, as far as public rep, anyway. At least she’s not denying it altogether, I’m willing to look past this (Which doesn’t mean I think it was okay for whoever had the final say on this to do it), but if this happens again, I will have to do some authorial soul searching. I did write my bio for my debut novel, and for what it’s worth, Jami, I promise it’s 100% true. My editor would not re-word it without consulting me first. If that’s one of the trade-offs in going with a small publisher, than bully for me, my credibility’s one of the FEW “Adult” things I’ve got fully in my control, letting that go would first hurt ME, along with those who know me, online or off. I will NOT go there. Second, now that I review books on my blog, I do need to be careful considering books from authors or publisher’s I’ve never heard of, but my debut’s also coming from a publisher few have heard of,… — Read More »
Hi Taurean, Yes, I’m not sure if JKR’s fake bio was done with her input or knowledge, and as I mentioned in the post, I appreciate her making up for it with the donation to a military support cause. My ongoing concern would be just for others following that path, thinking she set a precedent. You’re absolutely right that this post isn’t a slam on those who self-publish. Far from it. 🙂 More that it’s a heads up for those who do self-publish that their platform may be the best way for them to prove themselves–as both a real person and a real (i.e., professional) author. And secondly, that it’s a heads up to those who review, and includes some ideas about how to protect themselves. I’m glad you’re open to reviewing self-published works. Honestly, I wish more were, and maybe this post is one tiny way of saying, “Hey, don’t close to all self-published authors just because there are some scammers mixed in. (It’s not like anyone has control to kick them out of the “self-published club.” 🙂 ) Rather than close to all self-published authors, here are some suggestions on how to protect yourself from the bad apples.” So it may not seem like it, but I hope this post is ultimately supportive of self-published authors. LOL! As far as blog activity and whatnot, as I mentioned in the post, I think platform means that we have some way of connecting to others and getting our message out.… — Read More »
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[…] With authors shouldering so much of the marketing burden, sharing tips and tricks is helpful. Sean Beaudoin shares his personal story of why self-promotion is hell; Jody Hedlund counters with 3 ways writers can compete well in today’s crowded market; and Jami Gold says the time to start building your platform is before you have anything to sell. […]
You make several interesting points. I’m a book blogger, and for a short time, I welcomed requests from authors for reviews. I decided to stop reviewing requests for a number of reasons, including my inability to find out a sufficient amount of information about who these authors are. A blog, website, or Facebook page was essential because I needed to do my “due diligence” to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time or, at worst, perpetuating a fraud.
Thanks for the link, by the way. I’m amazed that the publisher permitted Rowling to assume a fake identity. It’s troubling that more people aren’t concerned about it. I think they would feel differently had “Robert Galbraith” turned out to be James Frey or some relatively unknown writer with a less intriguing personal background.
Exactly! Like I said, I wouldn’t feature a guest post from someone without some amount of due diligence, so I see nothing wrong with that same attitude from book bloggers.
Also, I agree with you that many are forgiving in this instance just because JKR can do no wrong. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and for the comment!
I waited before replying, so I wasn’t sounding like I was just high on anger, but I’ve got to speak to this. I’m not excusing JKR’s misstep on the part of faking her pen name bio, the pen name on its own I can understand. But I’m NOT excusing that part of it. I’m just choosing not to us this incident as a weapon to unfairly marginalize her. The media does that fine without my help, and seriously, Jami, how much anger can you carry before you become what you would hate being subjected to yourself? That’s a question ALL writers need to ask themselves at some point. I just don’t want this to take away from the joy she brought me and so many others, or to make light of where she was before now, and I don’t think most people who went through what she did (Let’s not forget, she wasn’t born rich) take what she earned for granted, something crazy jealous writers forget, and I include myself at times, but I’ve read HP, so I’m coming from this in a nuanced way. I couldn’t imagine living what she did in terms of poverty. Especially with her kids, as I say often, I’m not a parent, nor have been married/divorced or a widower. On the other hand, I’m kind of curious how say Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler handles this. How transparent is he on the dual branding outside publishing?” Do most of his readers (Who are kids coming into… — Read More »
Hi Taurean, You misunderstand if you think I–personally–am carrying a lot of anger about the JKR fake bio issue. I linked to this commenter’s post as insight into what I’ve seen others say, and yes, I’m disappointed by JKR’s (assumed) choice, but mostly, I just hope other authors don’t see this as a precedent-setting case. That said, I can understand why others are angry, as well as why others are forgiving. That doesn’t mean I fall into either end. My overriding emotions are minor disappointment and concern–not anger. 🙂 Thanks for bringing up the Lemony Snicket situation! Like JKR’s fake bios for the HP add-on books that another commenter mentioned, the Lemony Snicket bios are written “in character,” but it’s been a while since I’ve seen the books so I can’t remember the specifics. I’ve also mentioned the “about the author” for World War Z (talking about the Zombie Apocalypse in past tense) as another example of fake bios that aren’t misleading because they’re obviously not true. That’s the line I see in the various situations. Author bios can be written as fiction, in voice and/or character, if the intention is to amuse, continue the story world, etc. The problem, for me, comes when the intention is to mislead (i.e., lie) for marketing purposes. I’m admittedly squeamish about slimy sales tactics, however. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, as I’d rather err on the side of not being slimy myself. 🙂 As for trying to separate our bios for… — Read More »
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I know you personally weren’t carrying anger from the JKR situation. I just was saying my personal truth to what Amal said, and your reply in response to Amal. Sorry I gave that impression to you.
I also was just curious of your opinions on the issue of pen names and alternate branding, in general, outside of the particulars of JRK’s situation.
Yes, I agree you can have strategic branding without lying. I just feel the line between ethics and personal choice aren’t as clear cut when you’re on the author side versus the lay reader side.
It just seem depending on the author and books involved, some choose to just say straight out they’re both (Like Nora Roberts) and some who like a certain level of separation (Like my Lemony Snickey example) which when you’re writing for different readers, and I just wondered your thoughts on that.
Again, sorry for giving the impression you were “carrying anger” you weren’t carrying. I was merely speaking for myself, and because I know writers new to all this can feel confused, if not downright paranoid on what makes sense on an ethical level, but also a PERSONAL level.
They don’t always mesh perfectly. I certainly don’t advocate lying, as you know, but I can see how torn it is to do what’s right for you. WITHOUT LYING!
Anyway, take care
Ah, that makes sense. No worries. 🙂
Yes, as you said, some authors are open with their pen names (either that they are using pen names or from one pen name to another), while others maintain that wall of separation. I don’t have a problem with either of those approaches.
Authors have many different reasons for using pen names, and depending on their reasons, one approach will make more sense than another. None of those approaches strike me as lying, so I fully support authors doing what makes sense for their situation.
You’re right though that some might not understand the long, accepted history of pen names and thus equate the use of pen names with the use of fake bios. Someone “entering the conversation late” might not see the same ethical line that others do.
That’s why I’ve tried to explain how and why the use of fake bios can be damaging to the author/reader connection in ways that a pen name with a real person behind it aren’t. If people understand those reasons, they’ll hopefully be better able to judge if a choice will ultimately be helpful or hurtful. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!
On that note, when I was a kid and first heard about some books being work-for-hire, I was highly critical of them and kept them out of my life, especially when I started writing, learning how hard it was to write well, and tell that great story. Remember, I used to be a snob about work-for-hire books that pretend to be by one author but are really written by a team of authors, freelanced, staffed, or some combo thereof. Then I fell in love with a WFH series, and had to rethink my prejudices. At the same time, I know I can’t write work-for-hire because it’s too limiting, when just making my own ideas work is hard enough, the need to be in line with what came before me on a WFH series, especially the most loved ones like Nancy Drew or Goosebumps, is FAR too onerous for me. At least right now, but never say never, right? Also, when I asked you (Jami) of how much anger can you carry from the JKR fake pen name bio thing, I was asking in the rhetorical context, and as a counter to what you said in your reply to Amal- “Also, I agree with you that many are forgiving in this instance just because JKR can do no wrong. ” While it’s true this wouldn’t be so upsetting either way had this been a true unknown, I also wasn’t basing my initial forgiving reply solely on this reasoning. I don’t excuse… — Read More »
Hi Taurean, Ooo, great point! Yes, James Patterson is well known for that write-for-hire approach. He comes from a marketing background (I believe), and he sees his name as a brand, not a reflection of him personally. Most readers disagreed, but they’re starting to catch on to his approach now that many of his books list the hired author’s name with his. I grew up with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and never thought about those books being written by different authors, but I also didn’t feel connected to the author either, so the WFH aspect didn’t bother me. It’s definitely a nuanced situation. You might be right that some are upset with JKR for using a pen name at all. I haven’t seen them, but I wasn’t looking either. 🙂 Mostly, the people I’ve seen complaining about the pen name have assumed that the whole thing was a marketing, attention-grabbing thing. I highly doubt that was the case (like she couldn’t get headlines otherwise???) and I don’t blame her in the slightest for using a pen name. Like you, I respect her for the attempt to prove herself without the brand behind her. I agree that “writing what we love” vs. “writing what has an audience” can be a tricky balance. Especially because, as you said, “writing a great book” is no longer enough on its own. Does it help? Yes. Is it important? Absolutely. But luck, platform, and all sorts of things also play into our chances… — Read More »
Hi Jami! I just heard your RWA National talk on tape (well, not “tape” – MP3) – very helpful!
Aww, thank you so much for stopping by to mention that! I’m glad it was helpful. 🙂
[…] on building our platform (website, blog, social media, […]
[…] people (not purchased) and our real persona that can interact with others on a long-term basis. So we should start building our platform far enough in advance to have time to form real connections with people who can vouch for us or make […]
[…] years ago, I wrote about this problem from a book bloggers’ perspective: How could a book blogger who wanted to review a self-published author’s books trust they […]
I’m just starting to work on my platform for my pen name, and I’m floundering. It’s nearly impossible for me to lie–I sometimes have trouble with my “brutal honesty!”
The main issue I’m having is that I’ve spent 3 years using my real name, building my blog and my fb page, and starting over feels like…well, starting over. Like, commenting here–if I had any sense I’d be using my pen name. But that seems wrong, bc I’ve already been here as Stephanie. I don’t want to mislead you by using a different name! Also, I want my followers (all 6,000, lol) to come with me to my new page. I’m really struggling with this, as you can tell. The reason I’m using a pen name at all is bc I live in a small town and I don’t want to embarrass my kids with sex scenes, and bc my blog is mainly humor, mental illness, silliness, and I don’t know how I could use that platform for romance novels.
Help me, Jami! 😉
Hmm, if you haven’t done much to establish your pen name yet, could it be changed?
Let me explain… I’ve know several authors who were concerned that they’d never answer to a pen name, like at book signings, etc.–that people would call “their” name, and they’d continue on, oblivious. 😉 So they decided to keep their real first name and just change their last name. That way, their pen name would still feel like them.
Plus, it’s not unusual–for women especially–to change last names throughout our lives, so it wouldn’t be a shock to change your name on your About page or social media to a new last name for a pen name. That way you could keep your platform and just change the last name to BE your pen name.
Not sure if that helps, but I hope it gives you ideas anyway. 🙂 Good luck and thanks for the comment!
P.S. I can’t lie worth a darn either because my face in person gives away everything. (All the smiles in my posts and comments? Totally true to life. 😉 ) So I understand… LOL!
Thanks! That’s something I hadn’t thought of.