Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On Writing under a Pseudonym

That 'Mazarkis Williams' is not actually my name has been on my mind a bit since Worldcon. Many people asked me - some angry, some just curious - why I write under a pseudonym. Well it wasn't my choice, but it was necessary. The story is long and weird, and even when face to face I can't tell all of it, so I hedge. My agent once said, "Let me be the bad guy." But when I am standing in front of someone I like and they really want to know, I can't say, "ask my agent." Instead I apologize and bluster.

What's worse is that letting anyone in on the secret is putting them, in turn, on the spot. They don't know who they can and cannot tell. They end up having to hedge themselves. Having been raised in the polite midwest by a British person, I am doubly hesitant to create awkward situations. It makes me feel terrible.

Overall the pseudonym has not worked for me personally. Anyone who is considering a pseudonym and a mysterious identity should know that it makes it difficult to associate with other authors, who are the people who drive up when your shoes are worn out and you are stumbling along the side of the metaphorical road. It makes it impossible to network, and to market your book outside of the internet. On top of that you must be comfortable with a certain level of deceit, which I am not.

But do I regret it? Well that would mean I regretted being published. No, the pseudonym is what I have - it's part of the deal, part of Tower & Knife itself. I can live with it for one more year, when, Jo Fletcher promises, everything will be revealed. See you then. For real.

9 comments:

  1. Indeed. It sounds like it has been a learning experience.

    I will be curious as to the whole story--and finding out who you are, all in good time.

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  2. I hope when all is revealed that you will get to enjoy the networking part!

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  3. Ooh...we get to see the person under the hooded cloak...

    I know a few people who have published under Pseudonyms (bet they don't have problems spelling it) and so far they haven't had any problems. I was umming and arring, but in the end settled for a happy medium. I've published under my maiden name. Seeing as I was the youngest of three daughters, I thought it would be nice to carry on with my father's name in the best way I could...

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  4. I think that's a good idea. It's still you, but not quite :)

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  5. I can hardly wait until "all can be revealed". And I especially have a hard time waiting for the next book! I'm hoping to get one for Christmas!

    And when can we look for the movie?

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  6. You will definitely get a book for Christmas, but I don't know about the movie!

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  7. So It's been about a year and a half, and I was just wondering if the reason behind the pseudonym was ever told.

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  8. No. There had been some discussion about announcing last fall, but it didn't happen. Someday!

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