I got a book contract yesterday, and it forces me to make a decision. Since the story is quite different from everything else I've got out there, I have to decide if I'm going to use my usual author name or choose something else.

"Experts" in the industry (if there is such a thing) often suggest an author have a name for each different genre or subgenre. I began with historicals. so Peg Herring should be associated with them in the minds of readers. Since this book is paranormal mystery, I imagine the experts coming up with exotic names like Pamela Divine or Rebecca Starr. (Okay, those sound more like porn actresses than authors.)

I don't think so. My name is my name, and smart readers, the kind I want to attract, don't read in just one genre or subgenre. If they like my historicals, they might also like my "vintage"Vietnam-era mystery, and they should enjoy this new one, too.

What I strive for is always the same: a good story with a well-contructed plot and characters a person can root for. The details that add interest are historical in the case of the Simon & Elizabeth series while they are more nostalgic in GO HOME AND DIE and the new one, THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY. Either way, readers get little extras along with all the excitement of murder and mayhem, details that make them smile, remember, or shake their heads in wonder. That's the kind of story I promise when I sign the name my mother gave me.

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Comment by Peg Herring on June 10, 2010 at 6:03am
Okay, Dana is weird, Dan is a smart ass, and Thomas, you're very kind. I have to disagree about the debut author thing. I don't think many people pay attention to a first book unless the critics talk it up like mad, and the critics don't seem to hear about first books. I guess that's why I'm keeping my name; I know a few people, some of them critics, like my previous books.
Comment by I. J. Parker on June 10, 2010 at 4:48am
Authors rename themselves to escape the stigma of poor sales, or to enter the scene as a debut author. Debut authors get more publicity.
Comment by Dana King on June 10, 2010 at 2:27am
I'm often more likely to step outside my usual reading zone if I recognize the author's name, figuring if he can write, he can write. I have been told this is a minority opinion, though, and that I'm weird.

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