Recently I’ve had a discussion with two very clever men (don’t let this get to your head, Boys) about pen names. They made a good point that genre hopping (which I do) is not very good for one’s career. It’s best to take a pen name for each genre you write.
Let me start off by saying… they’re right. No argument, they just are.
Is it because of my ego? (I’m looking at you Graeme! *insert stink eye here*)
No… because if it was, I could simply take on names like: Chantal Peeters (which is my maiden name) and Chanti N. (which is my nickname and last initial). So, no… it’s not an ego thing.
I actually have a slightly different version off my name (C. Noordeloos) for when I write things that are erotically charged. I decided that was best.
Why not just do it then? I hear you ask.
The point is… with each pen name comes a lot of work. Being a writer is not just about writing. I wish it was, and most writers do too. You need to be out there, build a name, engage readers, talk about your work and yourself. You need to have a facebook page, or a website or whatever. Preferably a Twitter account too.
If I would take on different pennames this would mean I would have to ‘be’ all these different people. Yes they are all still me, but I find it hard enough to keep up with what’s going on now.
This will take up even more time, and I would have to keep up everything I do now for the name Chantal Noordeloos… and do that for ALL the names (and I would need at least 2 more)
Now I don’t do this for C. Noordeloos. Why? Because I don’t care about a career as an erotica writer (yet… maybe I’ll change my mind in the future) I just like to write it from time to time. But my other genres: Steampunk, horror, YA… I like those and plan to work more in them.
Writing advice will give you such conflicting messages: “Write for yourself, do what you love…” But at the same time: “You can lose readers if you step out of the boundries.”
So… what do I do? Do I risk it? Will I just stay close to myself and do what I love to do? Or will I be wise and take pen names. Or better yet… stick to one genre.
Honestly?? I haven’t decided yet.