Changing Your Name When Switching Genres

By WWW Member Mary Hagen

At the present, I write all my genres under my name, but I questioned whether or not I should. With that in mind, I went online to sites of romance writers since I write romance. What did I discover? Answers were divided. Some use pen names, some do not. I’ll list my findings here and let you decide. {Most gave me permission to use their name if I quoted them. Some did not respond.}

Two editors, one from Desert Breeze Publishing, Gail Delany, does not think it hurts to switch genres, and the other from Soul Mate, Debora Gilbert, suggests writers stay with the same genre. Most romance authors I contacted do write several genres. As one said, “I get bored staying with just one.” Amanda Cabot, Christian Fiction Writer said when she switched genres she assumed her readers would switch with her, but they did not.

The authors who do use the same name have had different results. Beate Boeker believes readers want to know what they are getting. “Presently, I write sweet romances and cozy mysteries, but if I should switch to sexy books, I think I’m obligated to warn my readers and I would consider a pen name,” she says.

Other authors, such as Roni Denholtz, write everything from sweet to sexier (not hot) romances and uses her own name. “Cowgirl” Lorretta Rogers is a multi-genre writer under her own name and has been told by her readers they like her different genres. Carmen Peone agrees and added, “It helps to build my reader base.” In the same vein, C.E. Lootens wants to gain a broad base of readers and gain their trust by using the same name. Christy King agrees.

Nonfiction and multi-genre fiction writer Amy Hale Auker and author Tami Dee believe changing names confuses readers. Amy reminded, “Amazon lists books by author.” Remember, you may have to start over if you do change names between genres. That may make more work for you. Some authors like multi-genre Vyaya Schartz, do not think readers cross over. “Readers are very specific about the genre they read. I have my author name on my author website so I divide my time when I promote my books.”

And then there’s those who don’t use pen names. Rosemarie Naramore is a multi-genre author using her own name. “I regret I did not start out with a pen name for each [genre]. I confused my readers with my approach.” She added, “I do think the problem could be remedy by putting out books in close succession.”

In the same vein, author Janis Patterson writes romance and mysteries under Janis Susan May and Janis Patterson. On her website she uses one name, but has two sides to her site, one for each name she uses. “I hope Janis Patterson will be listed next to James Patterson,” she explains.

From the feedback I received, it boils down to personal choice with excellent points of view on both sides. I decided I would continue using my own name for my western romances and my contemporaries although I seem to do better with contemporary sales. Ideas I gained will be used by me on my website necessitating a change in the listing of my books. I want to thank the authors for their responses.

Find Mary’s books here:

About Mary

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 11.09.47 AMMary grew up writing and riding horses, where her imagination went wild. While teaching school, she continued to write for national newspapers and magazines. Mary lives on a trout farm in Colorado near the Wyoming border and loves to hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Learn more about Mary and her books at her website:

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