I got a lot of questions from authors wanting to use a pseudonym. When should it be used and how? Is it something the author decides or the publisher? And the answer is . . . it depends.
Often authors make the decision to use a pseudonym because they don’t like their own names, they write something they don’t want colleagues or even family members to find out about, or they just think the pseudonym is cooler. And often publishers will decide that an author should use a pseudonym for some of the same reasons, but usually for sales. If an author was previously published and the numbers aren’t good, they’ll want that author to use a new name to help up her orders when it comes time for bookstores to place them.
Whatever you decide to do, here’s a little advice: The minute, the second, you decide to use that pseudonym, you need to become that person. That means that you stop signing your name Jessica Faust writing as Fessica Jaust. Nope. If I’m writing as Fessica Jaust, then I better become Fessica in all of my correspondence, in every nametag I write and in every introduction that’s made. Why confuse people? If you want to sell books under a pseudonym, then why even bother telling them your real name? It’s not going to sell books. That means when you’re submitting to an agent you submit as Fessica Jaust. When you’re talking to your editor, you call and say this is Fessica.
Here’s the deal. I can barely remember one name, so why are you going to try to ask me to remember two? And please don’t make me remember an awful name like Fessica. Can you imagine?