Odiosis Supellectilem De Me

Everything always looks mysterious and profound, written in Latin, doesn’t it?

It occurred to me that when I first starting blogging here, I really didn’t do much of an introduction, did I?  I figure you might like to know a bit about me.

Whenever I trip over a new-to-me author’s books I always search for their website and check them out. I’m guessing there’s a good chance you did, too, and now you’re wondering who this author is, because you’ve never heard my name before.

That’s not a surprise–that you haven’t heard of me, that is.

But here’s where the surprise might lay for you:  I’m actually NOT a brand new author.

I write under two other pen names, in completely different and unrelated genres.  I’m a best selling author under both those names, and between this name and the other two, I’ve written well over 150 books, and dozens of short stories and novellas.  I’ve won national awards and I have been professionally publishing for over twenty years.

I run five different websites, and write a ton of non-fiction stuff in different areas.

So, why the pen name?

Glad you asked.

It’s not because I’m coy and want to hide my face.  (Last thing anyone has *ever* accused me of is shyness.)

Here’s a longish answer to explain why.

When there was no such thing as ebooks and indie publishing, authors wrote for traditional publishers, who (for complicated reasons mired in insanity) wouldn’t let authors write more than one book a year.  Authors who write fast <ahem> over-wrote their publishing schedules by years.  Non-compete clauses meant they had to sell their other books to other publishers under pen names.

It wasn’t uncommon for prolific authors to have six or seven pen names published across the entire industry.  There is an apocryphal story out there that a very well-selling and fast-writing author once had five books in the New York Times Best Seller List top 10, under five different names.

Then indie publishing came along and authors were free to publish what they wanted.  So I did.  Under one of my other pen names, I published in three different genres–at the same time.

Fast forward a few years, and the indie publishing industry grew up.  We all started to understand algorithms a bit better.  And we figured out that if, say, all our horror fans jumped over to check out our new Christian historical novel, Amazon got very confused and didn’t know who to show the new book to.

Result:  Tanking sales.

This also applies to all the other ebook sellers out there, to a lesser degree, but still with enough impact to deplete sales if the wrong readers look at the wrong books.

But readers are very loyal (thank you!).  If an author they love puts out a book in a different genre, of course they will at least check it out.

On the other hand, there are also readers who like an author, and spot a book written by that author that they’ve not read yet, and click on the book, and perhaps even buy it without reading the blurb, just because it’s xxxx author (happens more than you think).

So you can imagine how that reader feels when they realize the Christian historical they were expecting features blood, guts, cursing and people of less-than-stellar morals.

Enter the pen name.  By writing under different pen names, I can make sure that neither type of reader is ever disappointed.  And because I’m keeping the different genres completely separated, Amazon doesn’t get confused and serve the wrong book to the wrong reader, then give up on promoting my books at all because the wrong reader isn’t buying that book.

It’s a win-win all round.

I’ve been reading and watching urban fantasy for a very long time (remember Barnabas Collins?  There’s a hint.)  It’s one of my favorite genres because it’s supernatural and fantasy mixed with modern sensibilities.

The image of an jeans-clad elf with a sword in one hand, and a cellphone in the other is the perfect metaphor.

I love seeing the mythological world, rich in history and detail, collide with ours.

So I write urban fantasies because I know there are readers like you out there who enjoy them, too.

And because, well, I just like telling stories.

What do you like most about UF?  Tell me in comments.

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