I admit, I’m one of those people who changes their mind. Right now the debate is whether or not I will keep my pen name. I wasn’t going to before because I thought Smashwords would not let me have a pen name and keep my real account and name information so I can get paid. I know. Someone reading this is rolling their eyes because the answer is “Of course you can, Ruth!”
So to see if Smashwords would say, “Sorry. You can’t get paid if you have a pen name and your real name with Smashwords. The system isn’t designed for that type of complexity”, I went ahead and put my real information under my payee info. It looks like everything went through okay and there won’t be a problem.
So that brings me to the question, “Do I really want to give up my pen name?” And this is the struggle. Now, I should step in and say my publisher hasn’t emailed me back yet, so going through her might still be on the table. I just don’t know. But I like to make a back up plan in case she decides she has enough going on without having to add the headache of the business.
I have no desire to submit to another publisher. I’ve thought long and hard over this one. I could submit to publishers and have someone take over the books, but that does not appeal to me. At my core, I am a real enthusiast when it comes to self-publishing. I don’t self-publish because I ‘settled’ for it. I self-publish because I chose it. I’ve weighed the pros and cons to self-publishing vs traditional publishing, and to be honest, I see many more pros to self-publishing. The only solid con that seems to exist is the stigma. But you know, the stigma no longer bothers me. I produce the best work I can, and I don’t believe what some people say (that I write crap and edit poorly). i just don’t believe them. That may sound arrogant, but it’s really not. It’s confidence. Confidence in my work and my ability as a writer to express myself clearly to my readers. Deep down, in my gut, I believe in what I’m doing. I have emotional periods where I start to doubt it all, but when the dust settles the tears dry up, I’m back to being confident. The foundation is there.
So the only appeal a publisher would have is the whole ‘Well, I was good enough to be published via such and such a publisher’, and to be honest, the more I read these books produced via publisher, the less impressed I am. I see better in quality in a lot of the self-published books I’ve read than in some of the stuff passed through the vetted gates of the publishing houses.
Now, I’m not anti-traditional publishing. If you don’t want to format your book and cover (or pay someone to do it for you) and if you don’t want to upload this stuff yourself, then by all means, go via traditional publisher. Find one that best suits you as the author.
But as for me, the traditional route doesn’t appeal to me. I love handling everything in regards to publishing. I relish every step of it. For me, it’s play time. And when all is said and done, every book I publish ends up costing me $10 (for the picture to put on my cover). All the other expenses are free because I either barter or do it myself. If I do book trailers, then I pay Animoto $35 for one month (making sure to cancel their auto service so I don’t get charged again) and buy about 10 or so pictures off of dreamstime.com which are typically $3 to $7 a piece. Book trailers are my biggest expense and most least profitable, but I do them because I enjoy them. I make book trailers for me. I have recently picked up on xtranormal to do minimovies and paid $25 and still have a lot more movies I can make. I do pay for my website through yahoo (I know it’s about $150 a year but I really love yahoo services so for me, it’s worth it). Other than that, I don’t fork over money for anything. I publish on the cheap and consider the extras (book trailers and minimovies) to be fun stuff. The website is the only thing I can think of that qualifies for a necessary expense.
Then I get full control over my books. No one can come in and change anything, and I can ignore anyone who emails me with a ‘change this or that’ mandate. I’m not writing to appease anyone but me. If I sell, I sell. If I don’t, I don’t. But I’m the only one who has something to gain or lose, so I don’t have to stress over selling a certain amount to keep my publisher happy enough to give me another contract. I really don’t want that kind of pressure. Joleene Naylor has expressed the same sentiment as a huge bonus for self-publishing, and I whole-heartedly agree with her.
So my big dilemma is do I keep my pen name or not, and I’m leaning toward keeping it. Now that I’m sure I can still get paid via Smashwords, this has a lot of appeal. Sometimes I want to read erotic romances, but my problem is finding an erotic romance that fits exactly what kind of book I want to read. I’m really big into the marital relationship (saving sex for marriage and the beauty of the husband-wife relationship). This is why I write the romances I do. I couldn’t find the exact type of romances I wanted to read. It’s why I started with this pen name for erotic romances. Sometimes I want something a little spicier than what is in my romances, but I don’t want to sacrifice my desire to read about a husband and wife either. I’ve skimmed through the forums and have read enough requests from women who want to read more erotic romances about a husband and wife who only have sex with each other to know I’m not alone, and I see a real need for this market. Heck, I am that market. So why not keep the pen name? I think I just answered my question. 😀
So either way, I will keep my pen name. There’s a place for it. Not just in my life but probably in someone else’s.