Have you considered using a pen name when you write? When I started my blog, I considered using one so I could write about whatever I wanted without it being traced back to me. However, I realized I would never be able to share what I wrote there with my friends or readers nor did I want to have two writing lives. Since my books were already so personal, I decided my blog could be as well. I can understand, though, someone choosing to use a pen name if they were writing in a genre they didn’t want people to know about or if they had a job their writing might interfere with.
If you do choose to have a pen name, how do you market your books without revealing who you really are? Online is the easiest avenue for such a venture; you can usually go by a name you’ve created for yourself but did you know this is not always the case? While most sites let you make up a name, not all of them do. Here’s a rundown of the main social media sites authors use to promote themselves:
Goodreads: You can claim one author profile per Goodreads user profile. If you have more than one pen name, you need to create a Goodreads account to go with each of them. If anonymity is not an issue for you, you can also add one common name to all the books’ profiles which will then enable you to manage them all through one account.
Facebook: Facebook only lets you establish a personal profile under your real name but you can create pages for your pen names. Pages are similar to profiles but a page can be used for commercial purposes while a profile is for personal use only. Pages are also one-way – you don’t see the newsfeed posts of people who have liked your page but they see yours – a huge benefit when you have over 2,000 likes. Though some people manage to fly under the radar using a pen name for their personal profile, Facebook will shut down your account if they find out. Aside from that danger, there are also many benefits to using a business page for your author branding: 14 Benefits of a Facebook Business Page Over a Personal Profile.
Twitter: You can have multiple Twitter accounts – one for each pen name. This is extremely helpful if you’re juggling multiple brands of books. There are also websites such as TweetDeck that let you manage multiple accounts from one page.
LinkedIn: On LinkedIn, you can have your personal profile page, a company page, and a group page. If you want a page for your real name, you could create company pages for each of your pen names. As LinkedIn requires a personal profile to represent a real person with a real photograph, you can establish the profile for who you are in real life then company pages to promote your pen name branding.
Instagram: You can create multiple Instagram accounts but you have to keep logging out of one account and logging back in to another account to post anything. There are apps capable of managing multiple accounts but they aren’t yet able to take the photos. You can find out more about your options here.
Websites: Since websites are platforms you build yourself, you can create however many you can handle. If you are keeping your pen names to yourself, you should have a different website for each one. If you don’t mind people knowing about them, you may want to collect them all under one website. The choice is up to you.
One thing to keep in mind as you consider whether or not to use a pen name (“Pen Names: Different names for different genres?”), is the work it takes to keep up with the marketing of one author brand, let alone many. Unless you have a good reason for doing so, stick to your own name. It takes a lot less time and it’s easier for people to find you. However, if you do choose to use multiple pen names, you do have options in the world of social media.