The Benefits and Challenges of Writing with a Pen Name

One of the more common questions that many writers face is whether or not to use a pen name or pseudonym for their work. There can be some benefits to using a fictitious name when publishing your work says author, freelancer, and marketing expert Jason Schmetzer. The most common benefit is being able to create more than one brand when writing under different genres. Even well-known authors like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and James Patterson use pen names to avoid polluting their main brand. By creating a pen name for alternative genres, authors are also able to better target their new readers, both in-store and online, without confusing their primary audience. There might be some crossover readers that purchase more than one genre from an author, Schmetzer says, but they are the exception and not the rule. Another benefit of using a pen name is to protect your identity. Memoirists sometimes consider this approach due to the sensitive nature of their personal story. Schmetzer warns authors to be careful when using a pen name, as it comes with some serious challenges. You will have to treat it as a separate business and a separate brand, which will require extra effort on your part.

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