Pen Names: What Are They and How To Use Them


This blog was written by me, but inspired by my fans’ comments on my YouTube video, NaNoWriMo Publishing Edition: Day 24.

So what is a pen name? If you’re curious what a pen name is, or sometimes referred to as a pseudonym, they’re names on works that hide identities, organize works into groups, used as a marketing strategy – they’re used for all sorts of things!

Maybe your genre doesn’t match with what name you’re writing under. Rainbow Rowell wouldn’t be found on a horror novel. Maybe R. Rowell would be preferred. This is a marketing strategy. The author still wants to put their books under the same name, but they switch around how they spell out or initial their name on the cover to better fit the genre.

Some people want privacy. Maybe Rainbow Rowell isn’t her name at all. Maybe she’s writing horrors and romances under this fake name so her family doesn’t know her secret fascination with fictional characters. This is still a nice strategy, even when matching names with genres – because you can still change from using initials to full names. It’s just not your real name.

There’s something about being unable to sign your real name on the book cover that is so heartbreaking for some. But deciding on your name is something I would consider at the beginning of your career, before you release anything. Once you start on a path, like using your real name, it’s hard to use anything else. You can, but it’s like starting over, because you’re basically being labeled as a new author.

One of my published fans told me he wrote in pen names. He used totally different names for different genres and got less revenue from that because fans didn’t know the books were written by the same person, so there was a marketing rift.

One fan said she could never use her real name, afraid her family might find out. But from what I can gather, she is still publishing under that name and has made a decent amount of success from it. She was consistent in using the same name, even if it wasn’t her real one.

A few other reasons you might want to use a pen name is because your name is too long, or your name is hard to pronounce, or it reads wrong in translation. I met a waiter once who called himself Erin, because people couldn’t pronounce his real name, Eran with a squiggle over the “a.”

So consider your situation, what you’re writing, and what you’re comfortable with. You never have to use your real name. You don’t have to use your real name or always use your fake name. But you can if that is what you’d rather do. You can use abbreviations or initials.

What I can gather from the comments is that “your name is your brand,” and to build your brand, you should try to keep your name(s) as consistent as possible. The route I’m going to take with my books is to use my real name and mess around with initials when I write a completely different genre. Mainly, I’m going to look at the cover and ask, “Will they take my book seriously with that name on there?” If I think it’s fine, I’ll leave it. It all comes down to the cover for me.

Thanks for reading guys!

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

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How To Plot Out A Thriller/Mystery

A year ago, I plotted out my own little mystery thriller and hope to make it into a book one day. I enjoyed the scheming and implanting surprises. So here’s how I did it.

I knew I could complete a story in as many chapters as I needed. However, I didn’t have a story yet. So I thought I’d see what I could come up with in 27 chapters (3x3x3). I didn’t end up using all of them, but it did get the ball rolling

I came up with my ending first. What did I want to accomplish? What emotional state was each character going to be in?

I worked backward. I felt like my beginning should be the exact opposite. I wanted a story where my characters were heroic and loving at the end and lame and hateful at the beginning. I wanted there to be two main characters who grow closer throughout the book.

I had a beginning, a middle, and an end: boring and strangers, action and comrades, heroes and friends.

Then I decided what kind of action: do I want it to be a crime? A jungle adventure? A spy undercover operation? The list goes on. I thought a crime would be interesting. Multiple crimes, in fact.

So, I split my beginning into three parts, my middle into three parts, and my ending into three parts. I already knew that I had to find out about the crime, investigate the crime, and then solve the crime, but how could I split finding out about a crime into three parts? Investigating a crime into three parts? Solving a crime into three parts? Well that’s where my creative side came in. Each third became it’s own beginning, middle, and end.

I added character development, conflicts, and plot twists to fill the gaps, otherwise it’d be a three-chapter book. Maybe it takes three problems and two solutions to fully discover that a crime was committed. Maybe it takes a leap of faith, three lucky tip-offs, and two steps backward to get through the investigation. Maybe because of a new friendship and two minds working on the case, with a few cafe scenes here and there, the crime was finally solved. But the case is not closed until the criminal is caught, so there’s a few more scenes for ya’.

There are so many options that I had to split the thirds of the three into three parts themselves, resulting in 27 or so chapters. It allowed me to explore the characters with back stories, have intimate as well as action scenes, and really build a secret over time, which I had planted at the beginning of my plotting process. It sprouted into a drawn out sequence of events that became my book outline.

I hope that helped some with plotting your next mystery thriller!

Keep writing,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Sexuality In Books

Many books have sex, physical signs of affection, and sexual tension. As a writer, I want to know why we do this, how can and how much can it help the book, and are there downsides.

The downsides:

  • As a writer, one should write what they love and express most comfortably. One does not write well in a genre they are not interested in. Figuring out if you’re a sexual writer is very simple. Do the movies, books, and shows you love so much have sexual innuendos and intimate scenes? Then you’ll probably do well. If not, I’m going to guess you’re not going to write very strong tension, if you are at all.
  • There are quite a lot of people out there that are prudent when it comes to sex as a topic of choice. They stay clear of it and might even disgrace your book if it contains that kind of imagery or dialogue. Write what you want, though. They don’t matter if that’s what you’re interested in writing about.

The upsides:

  • Especially if you are writing in teen fiction, you’ll want to have sexuality present in your books. Most publishing houses label young adult books as novels that explore the aspects of adulthood, breaking into topics like sex, drugs, bullying and pop culture. It’s what they’ve been forbidden to read, so teens read it the most. Most other adult genres have sexuality, as well.
  • It can make the book more relatable. Sexuality does exist in the real world, and, where appropriate, an author should address the subject as realistically and reliably as possible. It brings realism and a stronger emotion to the story you’re writing.

How should you write sexuality into your book?

Depending on how you look at sex, you could include physical contact in your book: kissing, caressing hands, intercourse, etc. You can be more or less descriptive, telling readers exactly what’s going on second by second, or hint to a scene that the readers never see. Then again, you can avoid the matter entirely.

You can use it as a detail instead of a plot movement. Maybe you just want the boy to kiss his girlfriend on the cheek. It doesn’t mean anything for the story, other than to show the boy continues to care for his girl. You could also, romance writers, use it as a plot or turning point. Ex: The princess loves her rescuer, but she better not kiss him before she gets back to her soon-to-be-husband prince, or there might not be a coming back.

If you want to write the best sexual tension, keep the suspense long and agonizing, make the main character’s love interest as mysterious as possible for as long as possible, and write the MC meeting the love interest in the same age bracket as your potential audience. It’s automatically more relatable, and not everyone has known their love interest their whole life.

But there have been books where the MC was dead, and it still got pretty steamy. So write what you want to write, bottom line. If you’re hearts in it, the writing will present exactly what you want your readers to receive.

That’s my intake on the whole sexuality-in-books thing. What’s yours?

Keep writing,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Another Traditional VS Self-Publishing Blog

There’s a blog I recently read of an author’s (I’ll link it right here). Back in 2009, this author tracked his eBooks, both self-published and traditionally published, on Kindle. He compared his pricings over a six month period and here’s what his statistics showed.

Traditional Published

Sell eBook at $4, sell 550 copies, get $340

Sell eBook at $6, sell 200 copies, get $600

Sell eBook at $8, sell 150-180 copies, get $340-380

The author was paid per eBook from his publisher, who was paid by Amazon. Amazon made a profit, so his publisher got a fraction, and the author got a fraction of that fraction, ranging from 3 cents to $3 per book. No real promise there.

Self-Published

The author sold his eBooks at $2 and got anywhere from $630 to $3600 for each book. That beats every category of traditional publishing. It’s because Amazon promised 35% royalty for self-published eBooks. He states that he would’ve made $15,000 more if he had his other books under his self-published name during that six-month period. That’s incredible.

But I wanted to revamp this blog for it’s almost a decade old, and I’d like to point out an even better advantage to using Kindle Self-Publishing. They now offer 70% royalties with some drawbacks; you have to restrain from selling your eBook over $9.99 (if you sell under the usual 35% royalty, this doesn’t apply; you can go up to $200) and no less than $1.99 (if you sell under the 35% you can sell it under that). Also, if you want to sell your hardcover copy, it must be 20% greater than the price of the eBook, at least.

If this author had 70% royalty back in 2009 (through traditional publishing, we knew the sweet spot was $6 per eBook for him anyway) he could’ve sold each of his eBooks at $6, sold his hardbacks for $7.50, and would’ve been losing a lot more than $15,000. Just saying.

What do you guys think? Thanks for reading! I have to get back to my little writing sprints now.

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Timeline of Book Writing

1-5 years before: Writing your manuscript
It doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as it’s to your liking.

1-5 years before: Building your following
Post on Twitter, Tumbler, or even Facebook. If you don’t have any of those, now is the best time to make one. People will follow you based on their curiosity and interest in what you do. Just remember to always be updating them and always be true to yourself.

AFTER WRITING YOUR MANUSCRIPT, PICK YOUR DUE DATE AND COUNT DOWN

One month before: Find an editor
Now that your manuscript is finished, you want to find an editor. It’s pretty simple if you know what you’re doing and takes about a day. Look for a wide variety of editors by searching the web. But never go for the cheapest your final draft (you get what you paid for). For more tips on finding an editor, here’s a link.

 One month before: Coming soon trailer
You want to have people dying to read your book before it’s out. A coming soon trailer will show minor details of the book, but not spoil the entire thing. The trailer can be anything you want it to be; it can show quotes from your book over pictures or you can narrate a small part to the audience. Here are more tips on how to make a book trailer. The best time to work on a book trailer is when your manuscript is being checked over by an editor.

One month before: Making your book cover
Just like your trailer, you’ll want to spend the time away from your manuscript making a book cover. You’ll want a nice cover that appeals to the target audience. If you don’t have artistic talents, don’t worry; have a friend do it or hire a professional.

After your book cover is finished, see if your distributor will advertise your books release date for pre-orders.

When you get your manuscript back from the editor, make your final touches.

A WEEK BEFORE

Here is where you need to do the most work, in my opinion.

Depending on how much money you want to put into distribution, take the following as seriously as you like.

Visit your distributor’s site and see if there are any programs you can sign up for to get pre-reviews before releasing. These are free reviews of your book that will show up in your reviews where readers can find your book. Best of all, you can make changes right before publishing.

Maybe have an early release date for hard-core fans, or give away 50 free copies depending if you have a rather big audience.

1-3 days before: Make your Out-Now book trailer
Change your previous trailer a tad bit, change the Coming Soon to Available Now, and presto chango, you have yourself a new trailer. You can release this the moment you have your book out if you like.

Go tell your followers and promote your book now!

1-2 years after: Traditional Publishing
If you want to go beyond self publishing, you’ll want to find a traditional publisher who might find your success profitable. Keep sending your book to different publishers until one accepts you. You’ll get it – I know you can!

Thanks for reading,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

I’m So Excited, I Just Can’t Hide It!

Hello, my name is WritingMime and welcome to my blog!

I’m new to WordPress, or was when I first wrote this, so enjoy my first attempt at posting on the job.

This blog will be useful to those seeking advise on writing or the process of publishing. My experiences range from far to many, being an aspiring writer myself. I’ve critiqued other authors’ work, and have spent a lot of time researching the marketing business. I’ve written quite a few rough drafts of stories in my day and love to draw. Hopefully, I can put some of my own illustrations inside my books and on their covers one day!

In each of my posts, I’ll either be writing about what I’m working on, tips on drafting and revising, supplementary advice for a YouTube video I recently uploaded, or big news in the publishing community.

I hope to keep my readers enticed, with a bit of tomfoolery here and there, working to make better writers out of all of us! Always remember to have fun with it! And never stop writing, ’cause those words won’t write themselves!

Woot! We have a bright future ahead of us,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime