Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I have a mystery manuscript at first draft stage which, with a lot more work, I hope to submit to an agent and have it published.

My problem is I have a very unique name (as in there is only one of me in Australia) which would make it very easy for someone to find me inappropriately. I’d like to publish under an alias, but I understand that’s normally a decision taken with an agent, with an alias agreed between agent and client. However, I want to start a new internet presence around my writing. I might add this wouldn't be a chore for me and I enjoy my internet interactions.

Should I go ahead and start a website for an alias, or should I wait until the magical day when I have a complete manuscript and an agent?

I've never heard that there's any rule about an alias/pseudonym/nom de plume being agreed between agent and client - that could be one of those apocryphal Internet Tales that get writers all upset thinking they're doing the wrong thing. A handful of my authors use aliases - occasionally I've suggested that they do so, but I've never suggested the nom de plume itself. That would be like telling them what to name their first-born child.

The pseudonym has to be a name that the author is comfortable using and can respond to when addressed by people in the publishing company, journalists and readers. Thus, it's appropriate that the author decides what that is. So you can absolutely create your own pseudonym, start blogging or whatever you plan to do. You're the one who's going to carry that name into copyright and publicity and everything else, hopefully for a long time. Just make sure it's not a name that's already commonly in use - like, say, 'Bill Clinton'. Then your agent may have something to say about it.


L.J. Diva said...

First of all, mystery person, you're only in the first draft and haven't even subbed it yet. You're a LOOONNNNNNGGGG way off getting pubbed. Unless it's so damn good the first agent will want it immeadiately.

Secondly, if you love writing etc, then get yourself a blog at Blogger or set up a website, don't want to pay for a full website, head to wordpress, there you can set up a website style blog.

Thirdly, let me tell you, a LARGE majority of bloggers go by another name. HELL, I DO! Whatever you want to call it, alias, pen name, pseudonym, nom de plume, alter ego, get in there and start that blog! Then it's ready to go IF OR WHEN you get pubbed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Agent,

Thanks so much for your advice. I've set up a new blog with a new name which is completely unlike my actual name and I'll start building it up slowly.


I do love writing, and I already have a long-time blog and an existing on-line alias but as you can see, it's not something I can use as a formal name.

I want to blog seperately about my experiences writing a book and I don't want bore the readers of my other, unrelated blog.

If one day in the far distant future my blog on writing a book turns into a blog on getting an agent or publishing, well that would be just dandy ^_^.


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