Why I wish I’d created several pen names for my writing #WriterWednesday #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #AmWriting #WritingCommunity

I’ve talked about the myriad of mistakes I’ve made in my writing career many times. (Want to laugh at all mistakes? Check out this blog post.) I’ve alluded to wishing I had used various pen names in the past. Today, I’ll elaborate on why I’m filled with regret for using D.E. Haggerty as my author name for every single book I wrote.

Also boughts. First of all, what the heck are also boughts and also reads? On your book page on Amazon the books other readers bought (also boughts) or read (if you are on Kindle Unlimited) after purchasing or reading your book are listed. The premise is these books are similar to your own book. If you write in several genres using the same pen name, your also boughts will be all over the place. For example, this is the also boughts from one of my romantic comedies, Hands Off:

also boughts 1

Why do I even care these also boughts are not all romantic comedies like my book? Two reasons: (1) reader confusion. I want there to be absolutely, positively no confusion about what genre my book fits into. Although I read everything under the sun, it turns out most readers are extremely loyal to their genre.

(2) Marketing. This is the BIG one. How do you find targets for your Amazon ads? You start with also boughts. If those books are not similar to yours, your ad will be targeting the wrong reader. Can you say wasted money and no sales?

Similar authors. On your Amazon author page, there is a list of similar authors underneath your bio. Here’s mine:

also boughts 2

All of the authors listed here are cozy mystery writers except one. Here’s the thing: I make most of my sales from my romantic comedies. This list is giving my romcom readers the wrong impression of my writing.

Newsletter. Last but not least – my newsletter. Oh, if I could only start all over. Not only would I have multiple pen names, I would have a newsletter for each pen name. I write predominantly in two genres: cozy mystery and romantic comedy. Cozy mysteries are clean reads – no swearing, no sex. My romcoms, on the other hand, are full of naughty-mouthed women enjoying sexy times. Yikes! Need I say more?

What about you? Do you have more than one pen name? If so, do you recommend it?


This blog post is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. This is a monthly blog hop hosted by @raimeygallant. Make sure to stop by the other author blog posts in this month’s blog hop to fill up your author toolbox! Just click on the graphic to take you to the list.

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17 thoughts on “Why I wish I’d created several pen names for my writing #WriterWednesday #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #AmWriting #WritingCommunity

  1. Carmen Lezeth Suarez says:

    Such great points. I guess it never even dawned on me to look at the “boughts” on Amazon. I have to start heavily paying attention to this stuff now because I am on book two — and it’s getting “real” now. Ha! Thanks for the information.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Matt Sweeney says:

    Sitting in the query stage right now, this is really good perspective. How do I want to position my career 5-10 years down the line when I get 4-6 books on the market? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dsdehel says:

    Definitely things I wish I’d considered. I thought long and hard about using a pen name. I even had one picked out, but decided against it; however, if I switch genres, I’ll probably do so, for the reasons you listed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacqui Murray says:

    That makes so much sense. I have two pen names, plus one other for my non-fiction. I wish I could say I had well-thought out reasons but it was mostly a quick one that has worked out. Didn’t even think of the ‘also boughts’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Meka James says:

    Oh boy. I can see why needing two would be important. We live and learn right? I have just the one pen name, but I’d imagine if I wrote something way off brand say YA I’d start a new one so it wouldn’t get confused with my steamy contemporaries. A friend of mine maintains two, one for her hetero romances and one for her mm romances. She says it’s a lot of work but so far has been managing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. S.E. White says:

    I hadn’t considered also-boughts, or the Amazon suggestions, but they are both excellent points. I mostly have my separate pen name because of the different levels of heat in my books, so my writing won’t reflect on my day job where it might be frowned upon. Privacy is also an issue, for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. charityrau says:

    Interesting post. As of right now, I’m only writing in one genre, so I don’t have any pen names, but may consider having one if I venture into another genre. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. raimeygallant says:

    You’re the first person to convince me there might be a really good reason to have pen names for different genres. Lots to think about. Thanks. Thanks a lot. :/ jk jk jk! Thanks, lol. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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