For one year now, I’ve had a second name. A pen name, or as I like to joke, an alter ego (I write mystery novels, so it totally works). I’ve learned a lot in a year, and today I’d like to reflect on some things I’ve learned about life with a pen name (and if you want to know what to think about when picking your own, you can read The Badass Guide to Pen Names).
1. Next Pen Name I choose will be totally ANONYMOUS.
Because of the nature of picking a pen name so late in the game, there isn’t a lot of separation between myself and Laura Teagan. The next pen name I use (if I use another pen name) will be totally anonymous. You’ll never know about it on here, or even from Laura Teagan. I have this weird uncomfortable feeling of needing to constantly explain my reasoning for a pen name that I know I shouldn’t have.
2. I need a better story for how laura teagan happened
People are always let down when they hear the story of how I picked Laura Teagan. It was a simple as finding a website and going back and forth with my friend Laney about last names that worked. I knew I wanted an Irish pen name (my real last name is German, but I’m actually more Irish than I am German), and that I wanted it to be a name that started with “T.”
And that was a really boring story, I know. And it pains me a little to always let people down that way, but it is what it is.
3. Creating a new IDENTITY online takes a lot of work
New website, new social media channels, new email addresses, you name it, you probably need to create it. I guess you don’t have to, but since Laura Teagan is my main pen name, I feel like I need to treat the Laura Teagan brand as a separate entity from Ginger & Co.
4. I never ANTICIPATED the type of press I would get
In the month I launched my book, I was featured on the Sam Houston State University (my alma mater) home page, and I was featured on a podcast. The month before I was featured on two blogs. Just last month (or it may have been June), I was featured in a list of 12 Indie books to read this year, complied by two lovely friends, Katie Li and Jenny Bravo.
Makes me curious to see what will happen when Double Played comes out!
5. If you think talking about your writing is weird when you aren’t published, it so much weirder after you are
Every writer understand the awkwardness of having to talk about their own book. Then when people find out they can actually go buy your book and read it? That’s even weirder. I never want to know whether people like it or not because I want to stay neutral. This is one of those instances where “ignorance is bliss” and it’s amazing.
I know this isn’t everything I’ve learned in the past year, but it’s a great start. I don’t know what I’ll learn in year two, but I’m sure it’ll be great.