Shannon Stacey

Alias Smith or Jones or…Roberts?

I’ve been following a Q&A with the fabulously talented Lucy Monroe on AskAnAuthorPro. (Open to those with RWA PRO status.)

First, if you’re not reading Lucy’s books, you seriously should be! The Real Deal was one of my favorite books of 2004. Second, if you qualify for PRO status and you just haven’t bothered with the paperwork or dismiss it as a rejection pin (grrrr–don’t get me started), you are really missing out.

So, anyway, Lucy Monroe is doing a Q&A this week on Career Planning. One thing that particularly caught my attention was her comments on pseudonyms. Basically, one spends months–or in most cases years–interacting on message boards, readers’ loops, writers’ loops as one’s self, then you get The Call, pick a pseudonym, and…start all over.

I’ve been roaming around online for about 3 1/2 years. As me. After reading those posts, I realized that she was right–if you’re going to use a pseudonym, start immediately. Don’t wait for The Call.

This led to a rousing discussion with the husband on names. Every single one we came up with sounded incredibly stupid (I wanted to keep the Shannon part). I don’t like my maiden name, my mother’s maiden name, or any other maiden names on my family tree. Every one he came up with made me sound like the star of a backroom porn movie. Every one I came up with started with B, until he laughed and said “You just want to sit at the same table as Jaci and Mel. Hmmmm….

Finally it boiled down to a discussion of WHY the pseudonym? Pros: Ummm…1–Eventually if I attracted a nut, he wouldn’t be able to find my house, unless he has even a passing knowledge of the internet. 2–There are always people who assume that I’m stupid and just don’t know Stacey is my first name. It’s not, thanks. Cons: 1–Starting all over with a new identity. 2–Legalese. 3–I like my name. 4–And I want MY name on MY book. 5–And all the other choices sounded really dumb.

After many yeah-buts and much eye-rolling, we came to the conclusion that neither of us sees a reason for me to use a pseudonym. It wasn’t really a conversation I was comfortable with because, here in Red Sox Nation, we are more than familiar with the curse of putting the cart before the horse, but Lucy’s comments made me realize that in career planning, that’s exactly what you have to do.

One comment to “Alias Smith or Jones or…Roberts?”

  1. Shannon
      · March 3rd, 2005 at 11:49 pm · Link


    Anonymous said…

    Thanks for making me feel okay that I’ve already set up my web page and journal using my pseudonym ;-) I did feel a bit pretentious, since I haven’t sold yet, but as you said, there is a logic in it ;-)

    My own surname is very common, and I know of at least 6 people with my name here in Australia, so I’m keeping my first name (I’d get too confused if I didn’t!!) and using an old family name as my pseudonym. And it just happens that it will put me between Palmer and Roberts on the bookshelves ;-) (Assuming I ever get published… )

    Bron (the Bat ;-) )
    4:21 PM
    Shannon said…

    I know what you mean–I felt a bit pretensious even having the conversation with the husband (especially since he’s the guy who’s had to change his shirt after every rejection). But it really does make sense. Now all the friends and contacts and such you’ve made won’t wonder where you went and who the new chick is when you sell.

    And between Palmer and Roberts ain’t a bad place to be! :)
    6:49 PM
    Alison said…

    Hey, can you email me? I need to ask you something that I don’t want to post! *gggg*
    3:18 PM

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