We have a great post for you by Cindy Fazzi! She is the author of My MacArthur and she wrote a helpful article about the pros and cons of using a pen name. Without further ado, here it is:
After using a pen name in two traditionally published romance novels, my literary historical novel, My MacArthur, got published under my real name. It’s a dream come true, but it also posed a big challenge in marketing and branding. Let me share with you the lowdown on using a pseudonym versus one’s real name as a novelist.
Advantages of a Pen Name
You can write in different genres. When I wrote my first romance novel in 2013, I used a pseudonym—Vina Arno—to separate it from my other works. In the publishing world, there exists a line between genre (such as romance) and literary. I was afraid my non-romance novels would not be acquired by traditional publishers unless I separate them from my genre work. Also, the separation is beneficial in terms of targeting readers; the audiences are different for romance and literary fiction.
On Nov. 1, 2018, my first “serious” novel, My MacArthur, was published by an award-winning small press. It’s a fictionalized account of General Douglas MacArthur’s interracial, May-December love affair with Isabel Rosario Cooper, a Filipino actress, in the 1930s. Its publication came just months after my second romance novel, Finder Keeper of My Heart, was published by another publisher.
There are many other writers who have done the same thing. Mystery writer Agatha Christie wrote romance novels under the pseudonym, Mary Westmacott. Vampire genre writer Anne Rice wrote erotic novels under the pen names Anne Rampling and A.N. Roquelaure.
You can remain anonymous and maintain privacy. Best-selling writers like J.K. Rowling and Elena Ferrante use pen names to be able to write in peace. It worked for a while. Perhaps they were both too famous to remain anonymous. People eventually discovered that Robert Gailbreath was Rowling’s pseudonym for her thrillers. Meanwhile, an Italian journalist revealed that Elena Ferrante was really the translator Anita Raja, though she has not admitted it.
You can start over. When authors fail to sell enough books, they sometimes need to reinvent themselves using a pen name. It happened to Melanie Benjamin, the author of the historical novel, “The Aviator’s Wife,” whose real name is Melanie Hauser. She openly acknowledged that she adopted a pseudonym because her first novels (chick lit), published under her real name, were unsuccessful. The new name gave her a clean slate.
Disadvantages of a Pen Name
It’s a hassle. Adopting a pen name is like changing your last name after getting married. You have to get a new social security card, driver’s license, and passport, and change your name on bank accounts and credit cards. With a pen name, you don’t have to change documents, but you need to establish your new persona in terms of bylines, website, and social media accounts. Needless to say, it requires a lot of patience.
It’s confusing. During the publication of my first romance novel, I communicated with my editor and other staffers at my publishing house using my real name, but all of my documents were marked according to my pen name. On some email lists for authors, my pen name was used.
That was a minor headache compared with the pang of identity crisis I felt when I created an author’s page on Goodreads, Amazon.com, and Facebook. Maintaining multiple accounts using different names requiring slightly different biographies is confusing and inconvenient.
It’s a lot of work. It’s difficult to build name recognition. With a pen name, you have to do it more than once, depending on how many pseudonyms you use. For the past three years, I’ve been building my pen name. With the publication of My MacArthur, I have to do it all over again using my real name.
If you’re thinking of using a pseudonym, be sure to weigh all the pros and cons. Don’t take it lightly because it’s going to affect your journey as a writer.
About the Author
Cindy Fazzi is a Filipino-American writer and former Associated Press reporter. She has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. My MacArthur, published by Sand Hill Review Press, is her literary debut. She writes romance novels under the pen name Vina Arno. Her first romance book, In His Corner, was published by Lyrical Press in 2015. Her second romance novel, Finder Keeper of My Heart, was published by Painted Hearts Publishing
in 2018. Her short stories have been published in Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review.
You can find Cindy at –
Author Website: https://www.cindyfazzi.com/
November 5th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by Women on Writing’s blog and read an interview with the author Cindy Fazzi and enter to win a copy of the book My MacArthur.
November 6th @ Coffee with Lacey
Get your coffee and stop by Lacey’s blog where she shares her thoughts on the book My
November 7th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog
Stop by Beverley’s blog and find out what she thought about Cindy Fazzi’s book My
MacArthur. This book is sure to entice historical fiction readers everywhere!
November 8th @ The Frugalista Mom
Stop by Rozelyn’s blog and catch her thoughts on the historical fiction book My MacArthur.
November 9th @ The Frozen Mind
Grab a blanket and stop by the blog The Frozen Mind and read their thoughts on the incredible historical fiction book My MacArthur.
November 11th @ Bring on Lemons
If life hands you lemons, read a book! Come by Crystal’s blog Bring on Lemons and find out what she had to say about the book My MacArthur.
November 13th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
Want to know what this mom had to say about the book? Stop by Ashley’s blog and read her thoughts on the historical fiction book My MacArthur.
November 16th @ Amanda’s Diaries
Find out what Amanda had to say about Cindy Fazzi’s historical fiction book My MacArthur in her review today.
November 16th @ Chapters Through Life
Stop by Danielle’s blog where she spotlight’s Cindy Fazzi’s book My MacArthur.
November 19th @ Madeline Sharples Blog
Be sure to catch today’s post over at Madeline’s blog author Cindy Fazzi shares her tips for writing fiction about a famous person.
November 20th @ Let Us Talk of Many Things
Visit today’s blog where you can catch Cindy Fazzi’s post on overcoming prejudices against romance writers.
November 21st @ Mam’s Rants and Reviews
Stop by Shan’s blog where she shares her thoughts on the historical fiction book My MacArthur.
November 25th @ The World of My Imagination
Catch Nicole’s review of the book My MacArthur and find out what she had to say about this fantastic book.
November 26th @ Break Even Books
Stop by the Break Even Books blog and read Cindy Fazzi’s article on the pros and cons of using a pen name.
November 28th @ Charmed Book Haven Reviews
Visit Cayce’s blog and check out her thoughts on the book My MacArthur by Cindy Fazzi.
November 29th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Start your journey today at Kathleen’s blog Memoir Writer’s Journey where author Cindy Fazzi talks about the challenges of writing different genres.
November 30th @ Joyful Antidotes Blog
Want a joyful way to start your day? Stop by Joy’s blog where she reviews the incredible
historical fiction book My MacArthur.
November 30th @ The Uncorked Librarian
Make sure you stop by Christine’s blog and read what she thinks about the book My MacArthur.
December 1st @ Charmed Book Haven Reviews
Visit Cacye’s blog again and read her interview with author Cindy Fazzi.
December 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Start your morning out right by reading Anthony Avina’s review of the book My MacArthur.
December 2rd @ 2 Turn the Page Book Reviews
Visit Renee’s blog when she reviews Cindy Fazzi’s book My MacArthur and interviews the author.
Enjoy the rest of the blog tour everyone!
There is also another book on the block that you should check out if you haven’t heard of it yet. It is called Addicted To Hate by Lucia Mann and it is a great one! You can find it on Amazon or on her website: www.luciamann.com!