Pen Name Musings

I am wholly, unapologetically happy with my current pen name Nicolette Jinks. Since I’m not down a hard and fast career route, there is still a good chance I’ll still end up using my real name to write technical documents, legal papers, and anything nonfiction in general. That is the main reason I took a pen name. Can you imagine “A Beginner’s Guide to FastBooks Accounting” being released right next to “Swift Magic” by the same author? And what about those right alongside a grant proposal in a google search? Ha! That might work itself out, but let me not confuse the few readers I have.

That said, I was considering publishing The King’s Mutt (also: toying with the idea of using The King’s Liaison instead, has a nicer ring to it) under a separate but similar name. Because TKM isn’t urban fantasy. It just isn’t. I might waive the setting differences, except there isn’t even any magic in TKM. It’s more realistic. Not historical or historically accurate, mind you, but it is set in the past, it has no magic, and it deals with love pretty heavily. The writing style is also quite different, but I suspect that my writing style will vary largely depending on which character is telling the tale, so that aspect may be a moot point.

To this end, not that I have read The Casual Vacancy yet, I wonder if my favorite childhood author JK Rowling would have been best to write her adult books under a different pen name. It doesn’t have to be a major name change, nor that secret, but I wonder if it would have been best for her to keep “JK Rowling” used for magical-stuff. Because that’s what her readers expect after Harry Potter. She (and her publisher, agents, and whomever else) had a  compelling reason to stay on with her current name, and I respect whatever her reason was. However, I still wonder. And if I’m wondering about her example, that makes me take my case into some more consideration.

Also: Nicolette Jinks sounds very fantasy-y. I intended for it to be that way. But does “The King’s Liaison” by Nicolette Jinks have the same meaning as “The King’s Liaison” by Nicole C Fredrick? You just saw two completely different covers, didn’t you? On this note, I don’t intend to hide my different names from each other, anyone searching me on the internet will find this post or others, but it will look different on the shelves. I’d keep the books together, but they are so different. Were I to send them to traditional publishing houses, they would go their separate ways. Maybe I should take that as a cue. Multiple names/genres is why I set up my bank account under Standal Publications, after all.

On the subject of “Should You Use a Pen Name or Pseudonym”, James wrote an awesome article on just that! And for those of you who don’t want to click, James is a lady. I would say ‘nough said, but no, no. See, what is just as valuable as the article itself are the comments that follow. Read them and laugh.

So, any thoughts? About genre-specifying? About being too confusing? About pen names in general?

~Nicolette

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