Authors choose to use a pseudonym for all sorts of reasons, mostly for privacy. However, some authors, like Norah Roberts and Stephen King, choose to use a pseudonym when switching genres. After a while, readers expect a certain kind of book from their authors and a pseudonym is helpful with marketing a new genre.
For example, if you’re walking through your bookstore and see a book by Christopher Paolini, then you automatically expect it to be fantasy. Imagine your surprise if you pick it up and find it’s romance! When J.K. Rowling wrote The Vacancy, her name was so bound up in the Harry Potter series that a lot of people felt turned off by her writing something in a different genre. If Rowling used a different pen name, then the book might have had more success.
Though using a pseudonym for a different genre doesn’t sound like a big deal, it can be. There are some writers that can get away with it. I don’t know of any but I’m sure there are.
My pen name is Acacia St. Anthony; I selected it because I will be diving into Catholic writing. You, my dear readers, are used to more secular fantasy from me. Yes, there is religion in it but religion isn’t the point of it. With my new pen name, I’ll be writing articles for Vulgate Media. Eventually, once I’ve gotten one or two other projects completed, I’ll start work on a Catholic novel under that pseudonym.
Will this affect the content of my work as Suzanna J. Linton? No. You can safely read it without Catholicism suddenly jumping off the page. My religious beliefs do affect the content I write but it’s usually along the lines of “how explicit should I get?”
Why does any of this even matter, though? Do I think my readers are so stupid that, after reading a book description, they can’t tell if something is religious or not?
No, I don’t think my readers are stupid. To be honest, it has more to do with political correctness. A lot of people feel offended by religion and I don’t want to turn off potential readers. Therefore, if Catholicism offends you, then please feel free to ignore anything written by Acacia St. Anthony.
However, if religion and respectful debate are your jam, then please do dive in. My first article, which tells the first part of my conversion story, is already up on Vulgate. I hope you enjoy!
Also published on Medium.