There are several reasons why an author would use multiple pen names. Perhaps you write in three different genres and don’t want to confuse your separate audiences. Or you are published with a traditional publisher but also self-publish under a different name. Maybe you just want to start fresh. But the experts at Web Design Relief know that having two or more author pseudonyms can complicate your marketing and social media efforts—how do you handle promotion and branding when you have more than one author name?
Marketing Questions To Ask Yourself When You Use Multiple Pen Names
Connect Multiple Pen Names Or Keep Them Separate?
The first question to answer is whether you want people to know that you’re publishing under multiple pen names.
Perhaps you write for young children as well as for more mature audiences. These are two audiences that don’t overlap. Or you might have professional reasons for separating your identities. For years, the romance writer Eloisa James (aka Mary Bly) kept her pseudonym secret from her colleagues at Fordham University, where she taught English literature, fearing the revelation would affect her bid for tenure. These are good reasons to separate your pen names.
But if you believe that some of the readers who adore your YA dystopian fiction will also enjoy your intergalactic hard sci-fi—or if you just want to simplify your marketing and promotion efforts—you can publicly link your author pseudonyms.
A Single Combined Website Or Multiple Author Websites?
If you’ve decided to keep your pen names distinct, you’ll also have to keep your websites separate. That means maintaining an author website for each of your pseudonyms. For this option, there’s additional cost involved in designing and hosting fees, as well as the time it will take to keep multiple websites regularly updated.
However, if you don’t mind linking your pseudonyms, there are many creative ways you can build a single website that accommodates all your pen names:
- Make your website landing page a portal that gives readers a choice as to which of your names they’re interested in learning more about.
- Direct the URL for each pen name to one website that links all of your pseudonyms. Check out the website for Jennifer Ashley and Allyson James.
- If the branding for your pseudonyms is similar, you can simply use separate tabs on the home page to direct readers to each of your pen names.
One Social Media Profile Or Many?
Whether you’re keeping your pseudonyms separate or linking them, you may have to set up separate social media identities for each name to make sure you’re not missing a segment of your audience:
- Facebook allows you to make as many “author” business pages as you want, as long as you have a Facebook profile.
- Twitter lets you make as many personas as you have email addresses.
- Goodreads requires you to create a separate profile for each of your pen names.
- Instagram also requires you to create a separate profile for each of your pseudonyms.
If you’re wondering if this will double (or triple!) the amount of time you have to spend on social media, you’d be right—if it weren’t for the wonders of social media automation features! Here are some ways you can write your posts on one social media platform and have them automatically posted on other platforms:
- Link your Instagram pen name profile to your associated Facebook and Twitter profiles—then with one click you can post across all three platforms.
- Link your Facebook author page to its associate Twitter handle—every post from your Facebook author page will immediately be posted to Twitter.
- Use a service like zapier to automate your blog or social media postings. For example, you can convert each Facebook post into an RSS feed that is then posted to your Goodreads blog.
- Use a social media management program like Hootsuite to post across many platforms at once.
Using more than one pen name definitely means a lot more marketing and promotion work for the writer. Fortunately, that drawback is often offset by the creative benefits of writing for multiple pen names or in multiple genres, which keeps your work fresh, vibrant, and exciting.
QUESTION: If you use more than one pen name, how many do you use and why?
I use the legal variant of my name for “literary” (i.e. stuff I hope to be remembered by decades after I’m gone) works, the common form of my name for my education/how-to stuff, and an unrelated pen name for “quickie” books. If I get into “potboiler” fiction, I may create another pen name.
Right now, I’m trying to decide which variant of my name I’ll use for my non-instructional non-fiction: common, legal, or create a third?