I’ve been asked a few times why I have a pseudonym or pen name, alias, whatever you prefer to call it. I will go with pen name. ((that’s because you cannot spell pseudonam… )) HA! You cannot spell it you mean… ((hey change that back. I totally spelt that correctly)) nope, the power of the keys are mine. ((I’m off to sulk))
Okay, so when I first started writing my book I thought about having a pen name. Well, it actually started when I wrote a short story for a local competition. I decided that I wanted to keep my writing name separate/different… why?
- Well for one reason I’m quite active on social media and felt it would be easier to set up all my writing interests under my pen name C.L.Peache. When submitting to agents, publishers, writing magazines I wanted to keep all the professional writing material ‘under one roof’ so to speak. It helped when setting up an email address/twitter/Instagram account.
- I also felt that I was making a statement about my intent as a writer. I’m sure it makes no difference if you want to use your own name – many many do and remember this is a personal choice, I’m just giving my reasons for choosing one. I also get a kick out of telling people I have a pen name – I cannot help it – it’s just cool, and I think it’s a good pen name 😊
- My book is a psychological thriller and there is something about using initials that just seems to work for some genres. Already you’re starting with a mystery, who is the author? What does their name tell me about them? You already want to know more about them – well I do – but then again I’m really nosey and inquisitive, pretty standard for a writer I would think! Something to think about depending on the genre you’re working in.
- Those are a few of the practical reasons, here is the emotional one. My dad died when I was in my twenties and as a child, he was adopted. My dad’s birth name is Peache and I felt since I couldn’t tell him about my decision to become a writer I would honour him in this way. I feel like he is on this journey with me. We share the same stubbornness to achieve the things we want, so as a writer I know I will make it one day – I have patience and stubbornness – a winning combination – well so I’m told!
So, those are my reasons for choosing a pen name. Have you made the decision to use one? Still thinking about it? Let me know you thoughts. Maybe the genre makes a difference?
I’ve mentioned beta readers before, but they’re so good and useful they’re worth another mention. What kind of beta readers do you need?
- Honest ones, people that tell you everything is good – well, that’s nice but it doesn’t help you develop as a writer it only strokes your ego – which you might need after yet another rejection ((She had another this week – she totally NOT bitter about it!))
- Be specific in what you want from them. If they have agreed to read your work, they obviously want to help. Maybe you want them to check for obvious spelling/grammatical errors in your work? I’ve listed a few things I’ve asked for below.
- Sometimes I will say, don’t worry about the spelling etc – maybe I want them to focus on the plot or how a character comes across. Total waste of their time and yours if they come back and highlight all your spelling errors when it’s a WIP!! So just think before you ask, and choose the right people.
Questions I’ve aked for feedback on…
Does the character (s) seem believable?
Is the plot pace fast enough/slow enough (this depends on what genre you’re writing)
Do you want to know what happens next?
Does it read okay?
Is there is enough description?
Based on the character do you know where they’re from?
I sent a piece to one of my beta readers and asked them to guess where the character was from. I’d given only a few clues in the narrative. I didn’t explain the place, and they guessed! I was very impressed – with me and her lol. I don’t tend to put a lot of description in my books/stories, I think this is because as an avid reader – I don’t tend to need this in a book. You tell me they are in a terraced house, I get it – I don’t need it described in detail – unless that’s what I want from a story – Dean Koontz is one of my favourite authors and he’s very descriptive. But, when I’m reading a psychological thriller I want pace, plot and character not loads of description – again we’re all different.
I hope this weeks’ blog has helped anyone that is thinking about writing and wonders about using a pen name. Also, I’m very fortunate to have a lot of good people that will read my work. If you don’t for whatever reason there are websites you can upload work to, or you could get a professional editor/reader. Recently I’ve seen people ask on twitter and had great responses, so there are many options – just make sure you check that they are happy with the content you’re sending. I’ve found the feedback improves my writing and makes me think about how my words/story comes across.
That’s it for this week. Any thoughts or comments or questions you ask your beta readers that would be helpful to me or others…
I have been thinking about changing this to a monthly blog instead of a weekly blog? Anyone got any thoughts on this? ((NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, don’t change to monthly – what about me???? I’ve barely got a look in this week!!)) that’s because you were sulking, and no-one is interested in what the brackets think. Please say you don’t read this just for the brackets… please…. ((HA they do))
2 thoughts on “To Pseudonym, or not to Pseudonym? How can Beta readers help you?”
What a wonderful way to honour your father.
Thanks, it feels like he is on the journey with me. He will make sure i succeed 🙂