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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pseudonym: What Do You Think?

So my agent has my YA urban fantasy right now. And we're all thinking REALLY GOOD THOUGHTS about this, right? Right. So, let's say that my agent says that yes, FINALLY, I told this particular story right (after, cough, 17 years) and he's going to put it on submission.

Everyone thinking that happy thought? Cool. (I love you people.)

Here's my question: What should be the byline?

I'm effectively branding "Jackie Kessler" as a paranormal romance author. Sure, cross on over to urban fantasy -- but adult urban fantasy. While I'm sure that some teens will read Hell's Belles, let's face it: that story ain't intended for a teen audience. Thus, I'm thinking that for my YA stuff, I need a different byline -- in other words, a pseudonym.

Should I go with my maiden name, which would then make it: Jackie Morse?

Or maiden name, with spiffy initials: J.H. Morse?

Or something completely different?

Or should I keep the byline as "Jackie Kessler"?

(If it matters, the YA urban fantasy is written in close third person, with multiple POVs. There are two protagonists, both high school juniors -- one guy and one gal.)

Whatcha think?

(Meanwhile, yes, that is the SCHMOOZING THE ALMIGHTY bar slowly creeping up. Thank you for noticing! Two WIPs at once, woot! And let's not forget Cat and Muse and Magical Minxes. Sleep? Who needs sleep?)


At 6:17 PM, Blogger LA Burton said...

I like J. H. Morse. But hey that's what I use.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

You're using "J.H. Morse"? Dang. I better come up with something else...


There's something to be said about the initials. Especially with one of the two protagonists being a guy, initials may be helpful.

At 7:45 PM, Blogger LA Burton said...

Ha lol, Jax. Yeah, look at joe.

At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prefer Jackie Morse. The J.H. is just too Rowlingish for me when it comes to fantasy. If you're worried about the gender thing, I suppose you could always use Jack Morse. ;)

But I honestly don't think the gender issue is really as much of a problem today -- all the HP fans know J.K. is a Joanne and the boys still like her, and certainly authors like Cornelia Funke (and other female fantasy authors) have no problems. I wouldn't use initials just for that one reason.

Up to you, of course, but my vote would be Jackie Morse if you're not going to keep 'Kessler' for the YA.

It'll do great no matter what version of your name you slap on there!



At 9:06 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

It'll do great no matter what version of your name you slap on there!

Smooches, Patti! Thanks for your thoughts on this. So far, that's one for JH Morse, and one for Jackie Morse. Cool. :-)

At 12:46 AM, Blogger Ovation Leader said...

Who says you have to change bylines just because you've changed genres? Who wrote THAT rule? Just be yourself, Jackie. You are who you are, no matter the byline.

At 2:04 AM, Blogger Richelle said...

You know my view on it. Walk on the wild side. My pseudonym (if I ever need one) will be a super cool porn star-English poet hybrid.

As for whether you should use one, I know my agent's a big advocate of it when a newish writer jumps genres. Another thing to consider is if you think the book will appeal to male and female readers, there's a certain marketability to a gender neutral name. Not that boys won't read books by female authors, of course, but it could help.

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Naomi said...

I can understand the appeal of using a psuedonym if you're crossing genres, but I don't think there's any harm in having the same name for every genre you write in - especially if you get "Writing as...." sprawled across the front cover anyway.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Heather Brewer said...

JK Rowling used initials to appeal to a male audience, but today's male teens are more open minded about who they're getting the good stuff from. I'd absolutely use a pseudonym (if only for the parents of said teens), and Jackie Morse rolls off the tongue. :)

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

You folks are awesome. (But you knew that, right?)

So, let's see. We've got:

Jackie Morse: 2 votes
J.H. Morse: 1 vote
Jackie Kessler: 2 votes
Prawn Star: 1 vote

(Remember -- keep thinking positive agent thoughts! Come on, Jax Agent! Love THE MAGIC BRIGADE!)

At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I vote for Jackie Morse a second time to take it to the top?


um...I mean Sheila -- yeah, that's it -- this is Sheila's vote. Don't know any Patti. ;)

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Faith said...

I like J.H. Morse. It sounds cool.

Hey, thanks for the cyber hugs and chocolate on my blog. I'm much more mellow, just frustrated, lol.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

Heh -- you bet, Patti/Sheila. Like with politics, remember to vote early and often. ;-)

Glad you're feeling better, Faith. You can always come to be for virtual chocolate!

Here's the latest tally:

Jackie Morse: 3 votes
J.H. Morse: 2 votes
Jackie Kessler: 2 votes
Prawn Star: 1 vote

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

J. H. Kessler sounds good to me ;o).
I wonder how you feel writing 2 novels at the same time...


At 11:07 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

Hi, Pencilone! I'm having a hard time concentrating today; just reread the second chapter of ALMIGHTY, and I'm at a Crucial Moment that I'm just not up for writing. All will be better after lunch, I'm sure. And my incubus is getting all sorts of pissed off at me for ignoring him to write about a gal who learns a secret Name of God. (Daun, the incubus, doesn't like the competition.)

Alrighty, so now we have...

Jackie Morse: 3 votes
J.H. Morse: 2 votes
Jackie Kessler: 2 votes
J.H. Kessler: 1 vote
Prawn Star: 1 vote

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, you dont know me but I've been reading your blog for a while. I'm Tristian, I'm not really sure how I found your blog but I like reading the blogs of other writers since I'm a wannabe writer. What about Jacqueline Morse?- Tristian

At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way me being a high school junior who loves to read urban fantasy, I cant wait to read the MAGIC BRIGADE someday- Tristian

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

Hi, Tristian, and welcome! And OH MY GOD, YOU ARE MY TARGET AUDIENCE FOR THE MAGIC BRIDAGE! SQUEE!!! This is a sign. My agent will love, love, love it, and it will get sold, and you, Tristian, will be able to read it and you'll say, "I knew the author when she was fretting over whether this book would ever get published!" Heck, I'm going to name a character after you in the next TMB story! :-)

So now we have:

Jackie Morse: 3 votes
J.H. Morse: 2 votes
Jacqueline Morse: 1 vote
Jackie Kessler: 2 votes
J.H. Kessler: 1 vote
Prawn Star: 1 vote

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Milady Insanity said...

I'm not a fan of using pseudonyms, to be honest. It's not like you're writing erotica AND YA--has happened, in fact, but I can't recall the author and her pseudonym now.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

I hear you, Milady. But there are a couple of spicy scenes in HELL'S BELLES. Hell, it's about a succubus. Sex happens. (grin) Too much, maybe, to cross audiences with the same byline? I could be wrong, but you may be thinking of Gena Showalter, who writes paranormal romance as well as YA. (Love her stuff!)

I'll add you to the "Jackie Kessler' votes:

Jackie Morse: 3 votes
J.H. Morse: 2 votes
Jacqueline Morse: 1 vote
Jackie Kessler: 3 votes
J.H. Kessler: 1 vote
Prawn Star: 1 vote

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

Prawn Star? Um... is that a joke?

I was thinking of Morse myself for my YA, since it's the name of my college... good to know it may be taken... I like Jackie Morse, for the record. Or J H Morse... if it's not taken. (I was going to be D H Morse. Oh well, back to the drawing board!)

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

Hi, Diana! ::giggle:: Yes, "Prawn Star" is a joke, a bad one that I don't even remember how it started. Instead of "porn" I sometimes say "prawn," and Richelle had said her pseudonym would be "a super cool porn star-English poet hybrid." So... Prawn Star.

See, this is why I haven't quit my day job. :-)

I'll put you down for "Jackie Morse" and for "JH Morse." And hey, go ahead and be a Morse too! All the cool kids are doing it... (Ooh, we would share a shelf...)

Jackie Morse: 4 votes
J.H. Morse: 3 votes
Jacqueline Morse: 1 vote
Jackie Kessler: 3 votes
J.H. Kessler: 1 vote
Prawn Star: 1 vote

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Heather Brewer said...

Hey, TMB is really good. Here's a brilliant idea. How about using "Heather Brewer" and then they can just make those checks out to your pen name! :D

(Yeah, yeah, I know...go write...)

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Jackie said...


Heather, I love you. We're getting closer to the Brewer-Kessler (or Brewer-Morse) collaboration!

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Naomi said...

So a super cool porn star-English poet hybrid would be:

Shelley Byron-Glitter?
Shakespeare Candy-Cheeks?

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

How about...

Tawny Marlowe?


At 4:02 PM, Blogger Naomi said...

You win! I like that one.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Milady Insanity said...

Nope, not Showalter. This author wrote a very literary erotica book, and before that she was famous for children's books, not YA. My bad.

But Rachel Caine has sex scenes in her Weather Warden series (though not THAT steamy ones) and her YA series is coming out under the Caine name as well.

Honestly? Given what teens read these days? Unless you have orgies, they've probably read or seen it already. In fact, they've probably already have read orgies.

But that's just my POV.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Ewoh Nairb said...

Jackie Kessler == Relssek Eikcaj

Jackie Morse == Esrom Eikcaj

Just a thought... from one backwards dude :)

I think whatever you do will work out fine in the end. Maybe run these thoughts over to your agent since they are pretty clued into these things.

Personally I think you have a great name already and you should keep using it... but what the hell, I'm still one of the unpublished masses. You can safely ignore me :)

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Emma Petersen said...

I vote Jackie Kessler. That way you can at least sleep 2 hours a day and not have to spend that precious two doing promo for another name. :D

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

Naomi: Yay, I won! Happy to share the victory chocolate...

Milady: No, the orgies aren't until THE ROAD TO HELL. :-) Actually, no, I take it back. there's this one scene in HB in which there's an orgy going on...Mmm, orgies...

Ewoh: LOL, either way you flip it! :-) I'm proud of my name, and the only reason I'm considering a pseudonym is because of the s-e-x factor and how TMB is targeted at an underage audience. Yep, I'll ask my agent what he thinks. (Cough) After he reads TMB and loves it, loves it, loves it, that is...

Emma: Dang, now if that ain't the BEST reason to keep Jackie Kessler as the byline, I don't know what is. :-)

Alrighty, here's the latest tally:

Jackie Morse: 4 votes
J.H. Morse: 3 votes
Jacqueline Morse: 1 vote
Jackie Kessler: 6 votes
J.H. Kessler: 1 vote
Prawn Star/Tawny Marlowe: 2 votes

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jackie, its funny because I was talking to Heather Brewer on myspace one day (I thought it was hilarious that her son would be wearing a shit that says "Eight Grade Sucks" the first day of eighth grade) and she loved my name so much that she's going to use it in one of her books.

At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last post was by me -Tristian

At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always held a particular affection towards the name Irving Whipplebaum...

At 1:17 AM, Blogger Richelle said...

You can't use Tawny, Jackie. That's the newbie succubus' name. We can't have *another* similarity. But you know, she needs a last name, so if no one's using Marlowe...

I think Prawn Star will totally connect with kids today. They can call you P-Star-Diddy for short.

At 2:51 AM, Blogger Emma Petersen said...

Can I change my vote? It would totally be worth promoting two names if one of them was P-Star-Diddy!

At 7:21 AM, Blogger Milady Insanity said...

Okay, I've changed my mind about the pseudonym.

Another vote for P-Star Diddy! ROFL.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Heather Brewer said...

Tristian?! OMG, that's my Tristian! Well, not mine, but you know. SO cool to see you again!

I loved Tristian's name so much that I named a character after him in NINTH GRADE SUCKS. :)=

Jackie, whatever name you go with, that collaboration is in the wings, sugar (I'm totally riding your coattails) :-*

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

You guys are cracking me up. But you knew that...

Jackie Morse: 4 votes
J.H. Morse: 3 votes
Jacqueline Morse: 1 vote
Jackie Kessler: 6 votes
J.H. Kessler: 1 vote
P-Star-Diddy: 3 votes
Irving Whipplebaum: 1 vote

And Heather, sweetie, you know that I'm riding your coattails, don't you?

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous J.T. said...

You know how I feel about nom-de-plumage :)

But that's only because I don't think my real name wouldn't sell books...

Jahosaphatamonu Tolegrumundegery


Maybe I should just go with my initials...J.T.

As for you, I've always liked Jacqueline Morse.

But, if you really want to thow people off the scent, use your middle name as your last name and make a pun with your first name.

Jaye Hillary?

Yeah, then you could write a political thriller as (wait for it)

Jaye Hillary-Clinton


At 10:25 AM, Blogger Heather Brewer said...

If we're riding each other's coat tails, we're likely to trip. Ooooh...or we could just go shopping for new coats!

At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Loving Husband said...

Do I get a vote in this? After all of the years I'd invested in getting you to take my name, I can't believe you'd want to toss it away so casually!

(Sniff, sniff!)

I think that you should use Jackie Kessler. And re-brand Hells Belle's with a pseudonym. Maybe "Sandy Kessler." :-)

At 8:32 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

J.T. you BETTER duck! (Wanna buy a duck?)


Loving Husband: Ah, sweetie, no matter what, the copyright will always belong to Jacqueline H. Kessler. See that, babe? I'm yours. :-)

Here's where we stand...

Jackie Morse: 4 votes
J.H. Morse: 3 votes
Jacqueline Morse: 1 vote
Jackie Kessler: 7 votes
J.H. Kessler: 1 vote
P-Star-Diddy: 3 votes
Irving Whipplebaum: 1 vote
Jaye Hilary: 1 vote

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Devon Ellington said...

Pick a name that means something to you. Each of my pseudonyms was created for specfic meaning to me -- sometimes I used names in the female ancestral line; sometimes a name that has a particular conotation. And then say it a few times, so you get the flow. I admit to six names now, although there are more.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger EJ said...

I'll throw my buck-fifty (inflation, ya know!)in for J. H. Morse. Has a nice ring to it.



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