I was telling a colleague that I was going to have a horror novella out in May, but it would be published under the name of Gail Smith (my actual middle and maiden names). She asked me why I was using a pseudonym, so I explained that when people saw a book by Linda Mooney, they would know they were getting a “sensual romance”, whereas Gail writes pure horror.
“Why don’t you use a false name for your romances?” she asked. “Does your family know what kind of stories you write?”
I swear, that tone of voice was the exact same one I used to hear when teachers would ask, “Does your mother know what you're doing behind her back?”
But it got me to thinking, and soon I was asking other people I know who use a nom de plume for their fiction, “Why do you use a pseudonym?”
Believe it or not, I got the same 4 different responses, in some form or variety.
1. I don’t want my family/friends/small home town to know it’s really me.
2. I also write (insert genre here, such as mystery, chick lit, etc.), and I don’t want readers to be confused.
3. Because my real name is a PITA to say, much less spell out.
4. With the way the world is today, I’m afraid that if I use my real name, an over-enthusiastic fan might try to hunt me down.
I’d like to hear from other people. If you use a pseudonym, is it for any of the above reasons? Or is there a new category I need to add?