Sunday, October 10, 2010

What's a Name?

I can't take it anymore: I'm in pseudonym hell. Not even MY pseudonyms. I tried using a pseudonym once. Then realized that if I felt so ashamed of something I've written that I need to hide behind a different name, I should not have written it to start with. The thing is, so much conventional wisdom has authors using pen names to one degree or another, for several reasons:

1) the obvious, shame: Writing in a genre that is sensational or pornographic. Writing in a genre that is tacky. Writing solely for money - selling out. Okay, I have dabbled in the first, and used a pen name, that's when I decided that if it shamed me that much I shouldn't write it. I have also been accused of the later, and still won't use a pen name, although I know MANY (double, even triple emphasis on 'many') writers of both fiction and non-fiction who write the same stuff under a pseudonym, but will look down on others who openly do it.

2) Division of genres. What? You mean someone who reads a romance title would blush, scream, and never buy another title of my work if they found out I have also written women's fiction, thrillers, and occult horror? Geesh.

If you, as a writer, can find the time and energy to promote more than one name, more power to you, but I'm just too old, tired, busy... and maybe even stupid to keep it all straight. I simply do not have the desire to run separate 'lives'.

That said, what REALLY started this rant is pseudonyms on message boards. There are two reasons I hate posting under fictitious 'sign on' names:

1) It's hard to know who you're talking to, heck you could even be talking to someone you've had a war with on another forum under a different name, or to someone you like a lot somewhere else.

2) Most of all because people use the fake names to act ways they never would if people knew who they were.

Be yourself.

It's hard in this anonymous world of the Internet to not give in to the fakery and silliness, but rise above it.