For many a year I was convinced I wanted a pseudonym. It felt like it added another layer to what I was doing, somehow upgrading the importance of what I wrote as this other entity. Atlas Soloman and Maynard Soloman were my two picks. I dreamed of exploding onto the scene as this anonymous writer.

"Who is this Atlas Soloman guy?" the people asked in my dreams. "I don't know, but I like his writing. He's like the Batman of fiction. What is his true identity? The mystery makes me wonder what he'll write next."

With a firmer grasp on reality, I see there isn't a need to have a pseudonym. Using it to leverage a writing career hasn't been necessary.

That is not to say I will never need one. Sobieck is not easy to spell or pronounce. I've been Soblek, Sobiak and Sobjek. Using a pseudonym for ease of use might come in handy.

A name change may also be necessary for marketability purposes. My local writing group recently discussed the topic of pseudonyms. One of the members proposed certain pseudonyms fit certain genres.

For example, thrillers are best written by initialized first and middle names. I'd put crime fiction in this category, too. They don't speak for everyone, but a few members of Crime Space have an A. B. C-lastname name.

Regardless, I will stick with my name. I publish as Benjamin Sobieck. Breaking the mold for no good reason seems more than a little stupid.

Do you think certain names fit specific genres? If so, what are they? Would you be willing to use a pseudonym to better market yourself?

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Comment by Dana King on March 21, 2009 at 12:30am
To some extent, yes. I think someone named Nick Hammer might have a hard time time gaining the interest of the casual romance reader, and Percy Milquetoast might have an extra hurdle to overcome if writing action/espionage thrillers. Those are extreme examples; 98% of all names should be fine anywhere.

I guess I would consider using a pseudonym if I was gaining a reputation in one genre or sub-genre, then wrote somethign completely different, if only to avoid possibly disappointing regular readers who expected A and didn't care for B. This way they'd blame the alter ego and continue to buy my books.

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