Not too long ago, I wrote a post explaining how I was choosing the name I would be writing under. This name, D.N. Meinster, is actually my name, minus a few letters. As phase one has continued, I thought I’d elaborate on why I’ve decided to keep that byline real.
I’ve come across several posts explaining the benefits of pen names. Each point raised was convincing enough that I felt I had to justify using my name to myself, and now I’ll share that with you. One such point was from an author that valued their anonymity online. This obviously makes a lot of sense, given the constant harassment we hear about on Twitter and other SOCIAL MEDIA sites. Yet if you’re not willing to put yourself out there, why even self-publish? That will only be giving the forces you can’t control the opportunity to notice you. Anonymity is valuable, but if you place such as high worth on it, then you shouldn’t be doing anything to potentially sacrifice it.
Adding to that, self-publishing hardly means you’re going lose that prized obscurity. You could put your social security number as your middle name, but if your book isn’t successful, no one will notice or care. I haven’t even gotten to how participating in any online service is basically sacrificing anonymity. The government, specifically the NSA, has all your data somewhere, unless you started using the Internet after 2014. But even that’s no guarantee. And if you use any online service, it is hack-able, meaning if someone wants your data bad enough, they’re going to get it, no matter what fake name you’re publishing under. The only real way to stay anonymous is to stay offline all the time. Period.
Perhaps that’s a bit slippery slopey, but that’s where my mind goes.
Moving on to point two: if one of your early books fail, you can just start a new one under a different pen name. This is probably the most logical reason to publish under a pseudonym. You’re not attached to the name, so if it’s associated with a failure, you can ditch it. Sure, it might be disingenuous, but it’s also a fail-safe. A pen name may or may not protect your identity, but it might protect your future sales numbers.
I considered a pen name. Honestly. These points, especially the second, weigh on me. But it all comes down to why I’m writing. I am not writing for you. I am not writing to get rich. If I wanted either of those things, I’d come up with some self-help book modeled on the numerous sites that explain how to make cash on Kindle.
I am writing for me. If I like an idea enough, I’ll make a novel of it. In the end, I have to be the one to enjoy it. I’m self-publishing just to get it out into the world. If it makes money, great! I’ve grown tired of my pauper status. But if it’s ignored by the general population, as I’m sure many self-published novels are, I won’t be offended. I know that that’s probable. And it will let me hold onto that invaluable anonymity.
So when I publish, D.N. Meinster will be the name on the cover. If I didn’t want to be associated with the book, I wouldn’t be publishing it in the first place. And when I leave this world, my name won’t just be on some grave no one will look at. It will be on a self-published novel which no one will look at.