Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Posted by Angie
Then, sadly, I read a post on agent Kristen Nelson's blog. Kristen talks about an interesting reason for using a pseudonym that I had never really paid too much attention to. Well, I'm paying attention to it now, and it has to do with web presence and how potential employers use that to their advantage when screening employees. We've all heard about how you shouldn't put pictures you don't want your boss to see on your blog, myspace, or facebook page or how you shouldn't send out damning twitter messages just in case your boss is reading. But I never thought about how that would apply when it comes to something you do professionally, like writing a book and marketing your book. This is something to be proud of, not something you should have to hide. But if you're still planning to work full time while you make a transition to full-time writer then it very well could be something you don't want your boss to know about.
Some falsehoods that people not familiar with the publishing industry assume:
1. You're making tons of money - why do you need this job anyway?
2. Writing is a full time commitment, and if you're more interested in spending your free time writing then you won't be spending that extra time thinking about your job.
Point 1 is obviously a falsehood, but employers don't know that. They think that every writer is making millions like Stephen King or Stephanie Meyer. When I mentioned to my sister a year ago that I was writing a book, the first thing she said was, 'oh, maybe you'll become a millionaire!'. Um, no. Sorry sis.
Point 2 I think is arguable depending on the field you're in. Not saying that it's fair, just that I understand where an employer's reasoning comes from. For scientists, it's almost imperative that you spend more than your allotted 40 hours a week in the lab *whispers: this is why I'm not that successful as a scientist*. And if your area of research is anywhere near the hot topics (cancer, stem cell research, etc), then you can bump that up to 60 hours a week, easy. I'm sure this is also the case for many other fields, and given the current economy, I wouldn't doubt that it factors into almost any employer's thought process. I mean, who would you rather hire - someone who has basically a second job that they already love and want to make into a full time career or someone who's available to put in extra hours for the company?
What all this leads to for me is the realization that I may have to take a pen name after all. I'll be leaving my current job in a year, and I certainly don't want to screw up my chances of getting hired. And well, on the sucktastic scale, this hits a good 10. I'll be querying soon and I was considering changing that anonymous picture up at the top there with my full name so that I could show I at least have the beginnings of a web presence. But now, I'm leaning more towards not. And yes, I'm sure that agents will understand why I'm choosing to remain anonymous for now, but it still bugs me. Instead of being rewarded for having creativity and the courage to put myself out there, I feel like I have to hide. Instead of getting credited for my accomplishments it's going to have to remain a secret - at least for now. I'm wondering if anyone else out there feels the same way? Do you have a pen name picked out? Do you feel that this is something you have to do, not that you want to do? What are your reasons?
And just because I know you're curious, I'm thinking of the name Kae Hughes. Kae is my middle name and Hughes is my great grandmother's maiden name or something like that. Kind of dull, but I can't really see myself as an Angelique Romiere.
Labels: pen names ·