Welcome to Law-Forums.org!   

Advertisments:




Sponsor Links:

Discount Legal Forms
Discounted Legal Texts


Publishing Under A Nom De Plume

Patents & Trademarks Discussion Forum

Publishing Under A Nom De Plume

Postby darce » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:12 pm

Dear Cathy,

I have a legal/financial question about nom de plumes I hope you will be able to answer. First a little background: I have published a few small things(or are there no small pieces, only small writers?), but I am really only getting started as a writer. I primarily see myself working in the so-called "literary fiction" genre, and am in fact attending an MFA program next fall. However, I would also like to publish a few science fiction works in addition to literary forms. I was thinking of using a nom de plume for the SF stuff. First of all, do you think that is a good idea--to keep two distinct writing identities, so to speak? Of course, such questions may be getting ahead of myself, as I still have much writing to do before I really need to worry about these things. My main question, however, arises from my curiosity about using nom de plumes: When a writer publishes under a nom de plume, do they have to legally establish, say, a banking account under that name, so as to receive payments from the publisher("doing business as 'so & so'")? What formal steps(if any) are necessary to live with a nom de plume?

Thanks for your valuable time! It is much appreciated.

~Amanda
darce
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:23 am

Publishing Under A Nom De Plume

Postby Will » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:40 pm

Dear Cathy,

I have a legal/financial question about nom de plumes I hope you will be able to answer. First a little background: I have published a few small things(or are there no small pieces, only small writers?), but I am really only getting started as a writer. I primarily see myself working in the so-called "literary fiction" genre, and am in fact attending an MFA program next fall. However, I would also like to publish a few science fiction works in addition to literary forms. I was thinking of using a nom de plume for the SF stuff. First of all, do you think that is a good idea--to keep two distinct writing identities, so to speak? Of course, such questions may be getting ahead of myself, as I still have much writing to do before I really need to worry about these things. My main question, however, arises from my curiosity about using nom de plumes: When a writer publishes under a nom de plume, do they have to legally establish, say, a banking account under that name, so as to receive payments from the publisher("doing business as 'so & so'")? What formal steps(if any) are necessary to live with a nom de plume?

Thanks for your valuable time! It is much appreciated.

~Amanda
Will
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:52 am

Publishing Under A Nom De Plume

Postby Jermayne » Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:34 pm

Hi, Amanda!

Okay, you've actually got two different questions going on here, so we'll tackle them one at a time:

1.  Should you have a pen name for SF stories? Ultimately, it depends. A lot of authors(myself included) use a pen name for genre work outside of the regular published genre. The best reason for this was given to me by my agent. If a reader loves SF and discovers "Amanda" and wants to buy everything you've written, she's going to ask the clerk at the front of the store for a list of everything you've written. The clerk isn't going to separate it out by genre, because he doesn't know he SHOULD. The reader then buys the books/stories and likes . . . only half, because half of the stories are literary, and the reader doesn't particular like literary.  They like SF. So, now the writer feels that she wasted her money and might or might not buy the next book you write. But if you have a different pen name, and your SF novels are as Amanda and your literary novels are as Anda and your romances are as Mandy, then you have the opportuntity to build three SEPARATE audiences. Then, by including on the back cover your other pen names, you can make the reader "cross shelves" to find your other books, thereby increasing your readership.

Second, pen names help overcome perceptions of the reader. A sweeping historical romance is more likely to be picked up by readers when it's written by Mandy or Susan, than Tom or Ralph. In the same vein, Betty Smith might not sell as many SF novels as when the cover shows B.T. Smith. It's not fair, but it's true.

2.  What steps need to be taken to have a pen name? This is easy. There aren't any. No dba companies, no special paperwork, no notifications(except to the editor when they're ready to create the book cover.) The royalty statement you get from your agent or publisher will show the titles of the books and the money they earned. Your accountant won't care what name they were under, nor will the IRS. The contracts and, hence, the royalty statements, will all be under your real legal name(that matches your social security number) and the public never need know that Amanda, and Anda and Mandy are, in actuality, Tom.

Does that help any? If I didn't answer your question completely, let me know, and feel free to ask any other questions that come up. :)

Cathy
Jermayne
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:32 pm


Return to Patents & Trademarks

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post