That is a wonderful question and one I have struggled with for years. When I began writing I was certain I would use my real name. After all I wanted all my family and friends to see my name on a book. How awesome is that!
I can’t tell you what is right and what is wrong, I will tell you my story of how I went from my real name to a pen name and why.
July 2012 I received my book contract on THE KINDLING! During the process I had to fill out a “Bio” form including a pen name if I was using one. I went back and forth with this decision. A lot of writers use pen names or initials: J.K. Rowling, J.D. Robb, Anne Rice, even Stephen King!
But I wanted to be known so I decided to release THE KINDLING by Brandi Schmidt. Seeing my name on the cover was one of the best feelings in the world. I knew I made the right decision. Boy – was I wrong!
THE KINDLING release March 22, 2013, I was so excited! It took me four long years but it was finally published. During those four years I had started to build my platform. I had a website – www.brandischmidt.com – twitter – a Facebook fan page – Google + account and was all over the web. I sent the book out for reviews and even landed some amazing marketing gigs (but I’ll get to marketing in another post).
I attended the Romance Times Conference in Kansas City, it was a blast. I met so many authors and most of them had pen names. I asked a few why, and they all said to keep their privacy, especially when you are writing erotic or male/male romance. Those controversial novels are not something you want your kids friends to get a hold of.
Summer of 2013 I took a research trip out of state and realized something…people are crazy! When a person is so passionate it can make them insane. It was really scary and I ended up being stalked. I had to defriend people on Facebook and twitter. One man even sent me naked pictures on twitter! I blocked him really quick.
After the advice at the conference and the experiences I personally had I decided to change my author name to Elle Sharp. This has proven to be a giant pain! I had to redirect my website, change a bunch of stuff. Get a new Facebook fan page, e-mail, twitter, google + account. It’s like starting all over again.
After speaking with my publisher they agreed to change the cover of my book and resend it out (it’s an e-book) but inside it will still say Brandi Schmidt on the inside cover and the “About the Author” will still be Brandi Schmidt. I am hoping when it goes to paperback we can change those too.
But – going forward I am Elle Sharp. Bottom line….research and figure out what you want to be called BEFORE your first novel is published
Just another day in the life of a Busy Lady!