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.