Well, if you were here on Monday, you saw that I'm thinking about a pen name for my women's fiction books. Robynne Rand was the clear winner, with all the rest coming in a close second. I didn't realize Ann Coulter was who she was, so that name is definitely out of the running. (Although I wonder who would get more publicity out of that kind of book??)
Anyhoo, Anne R. Allen brought up a really interesting point -- about how I've already spent so much time building up my author name as my brand, and with my covers, and how long it's taken me to do this, then why would I want to start again from the bottom. And she's right.
However, here's my itch -- I know how I felt when I found out Lisa Kleypas (of Regency romance fame) wrote a contemporary romance, and used her own name. I wigged out. Yeah, I did. I don't know why, but I did. I did read her contemporary stuff, and truth to tell, I didn't like it all that much. It was a good book, I guess, (It was a long time ago, I really don't remember it all that well.) but I know it definitely wasn't her finest hour. I don't know if I was expecting something else, if it had to do with the publisher, the editor, or what, but I didn't like it. The sad thing is, I haven't read anything else by her.
Which isn't fair, but that's how I feel.
The same thing happened with Susan Wiggs. I loved her historicals. I hated her contemporaries.
Now these are just two authors that I know of. And I'm not saying it's a bad thing to want to branch out, hey, I'm all for it. It's just that once you brand yourself to a particular genre, you should keep the name that made you famous, and if you want to write something else, then you should change your name. I mean, what if Stephen King wrote romances under Stephen King? He'd probably get laughed at by some people. And other people wouldn't read it. Because it's not what he's known for. But I bet if he wrote under Stephanie Kingston, then nobody would know or even care.
Because I don't know about you, but I just read an authors' name and don't even wonder who they really are. I had absolutely no idea that Nora Roberts and J.D.Robb were the same person. Honest. That goes for a half dozen other authors too. They brand themselves and as far as I'm concerned, that's what they write under that particular name.
Which is where I'm waffling. I've made a successful branding of my name, Anne Gallagher, to my Regency romances, right? And for however many fans I have, that's what they expect of me. Regency romances that are exceedingly sweet, and predictable, with just enough twists and turns to make you really wonder if the hero and heroine are actually going to make it to their happily ever after.
Now suppose, I released a book about a rape victim, incest survivor, and a wife-beater? Do you think I'd lose some of my Regency fans? Especially if there were f-bombs and gruesome beatings, and full on rape scenes? (I mean, not that I am going to release that kind of book, I don't have it in me to even THINK about writing something like that.) But I mean, can you get my drift here?
So my question to you is -- Do you think that authors who brand themselves in one genre, should rebrand themselves in another? Or do you think it's possible to keep your same name and be successful in both?