Before you share your work, you need to know who you are. Like a flower, many people have both a scientific name and a common name. Think of your scientific name as the one that parents give you the day you were born. It defines who you are as you grow into your place within the family, your community and school.
The flower’s common name is like that cute little nickname your mom dubbed you with early on or maybe one your friends or siblings came up to tease you with. A common name could also be another name used with the public allowing you to hide your scientific name from the world.
These alternate names allow artists to create a fantastical profile filled with a creative backstory to explain where they came from and why they write. These profiles draw in potential readers by giving the audience a taste of the writer’s voice.
Not all authors want or need an alternate name while others may have several identities. There are no rules to tell you what you must do. This is a personal decision and even then, the direction can change based on the seeds in your creative garden. Think of a handful of seeds all for the same type of flower. From the moment you plant them each seed will develop and grow at a different pace from the other seeds you planted. Sometimes a seed won’t develop, others will produce only a few peddles while others blossom to their full potential.
Prolific authors can use the same author name and write several different series of books generally finding success by keeping each group in similar genres. This makes it easier for the author to promote a new series to the same audience of fans loyal to their prior works. The advantage of using the same profile for these vastly different types of works is that the reader who loves stories by Pat Sawtelle will promote the author to everyone. The author only has one identity and can promote all their various works anywhere they go and on the same websites and various book suppliers. This saves money because you can leverage common web and social promotional sites for several series.
Stuck in the middle of these are the works where you explored different genres, something for a different age of audience, or maybe creative for a different medium. These are the places where you must decide what impact the publication of the new item could have on your original masterpieces and vice versa.
If you normally write for the young adult audience and then write a something with explicit sex, then using a different name for the alternate work provides an easy way for readers to distinguish the two bodies of work. Maybe you normally write fantasy and you want to publish a book on the historical significance of the Northern Leopard Frog. Your historical fans might not be happy if they picked up a book about a make-believe world filled with monsters and fake legends. Readers associate an author’s name with a genre or style of writing and they don’t always like surprises.
So before putting your creations out in the world, take a bit of time to think about who you are. Fun tip… Practice writing your name like you would sign a book. If you plan to be a best selling author you have to be comfortable with your signature. Happy writing!