Okay, I have multiple questions here, that ask completely different things, but end up requiring near identical answers, so, I'm going to list all the questions here and than I'm going to write one solitary answer to cover them all, okay? Great! Let's get started...
QUESTIONS #1, 2, 3, and 4 are answered HERE.
Originally Question 5 was on the other page, but as I was writing the answer, I realized 5 needed it's own separate answer. Why? Because, originally I thought it was a question about pen names and how to use them, but as I went back and re-read the question I started to ask myself, if that was really what the asker wanted to know? S/He veered off track from pen names quite a bit over the course of this (very long) question, and by the end of the question seemed to be ... I don't know ... it was almost like s/he had become some what hysterical and was on the verge of some sort of conniption. It seemed very strange and out of place and, I just don't think the asker was actually asking about pen names at all. I mean, I could be wrong but, ... well, why don't you read question #5 for yourself and see if you don't see the same issue I'm seeing here.
QUESTION #5 asks:
That question, in case any body was wondering is 965 words long, at least the part of it I posted here is...the question was actually about 4 times that, close to 4,000 words long. Anyways, can you see why I questioned if this question actually is about pen names at all? I mean, what do you think?
Well, I already answered most of my pen name stuff to those other 4 questions ON THIS PAGE, but now let's get to work on answering this other, somewhat odd question.
So, it appears that on the surface you want to know about using a pen name on Amazon, but than you jump right on in to posting a little rant that amounts to not much more than a "how to" for online stalkers. It's a very detailed and well thought out little "how to" as well, enough so, that it sounds to me like you have some inside knowledge on how to stalk a person online, which sounds to me like you are making a habit of stalking someone. Am I correct?
You know what? Because your question is so insanely long, I'm going to break it up and answer each piece of it one at a time like a jig saw puzzle and let's see where that takes us, okay? Great! Let's get started.
Now before addressing your question directly, I'd like to ask you a question, or rather give you a thought, something to think about as I answer your request. You are worried someone will discover your pen name is only a pen name and than seek out your real name, right? Well, if you don't mention that it's just a pen name, few will think to look for your real name. Most readers are not going to care, because most readers will assume that whatever name is on the cover of the book, is the name of the author, unless of course you chose some utterly ridiculous name like "Starry Night" or "Sugar Muffin", than they'll know it's fake. But really think about it: Who is actually going to think it's not your real name? And who is going to be crazy enough to hunt down your real name if they discover it is a pen name?
You create one account on Amazon, (using your REAL name and your social security number) and than from that dashboard you can publish as many books as you want using any pen name you want. If you wanted to publish 100 different books and use a separate pen name for every one of them you can.
Smashwords only allows one name per account so you'd have to create 100 accounts in order to use 100 pen names.
But yes, you can use a pen name on Amazon.
Okay so, my spidey sensor creepy meter is going off here.
Can you explain to me why you want me to explain to you how you would go about finding the real identity of an author who has used a pen name?
I suppose the question here would be: why do you want to and who are you trying to find?
Perhaps you have just worded this wrong?
How would "I" - as in me specifically - go about finding the real identity of an author who has used a pen name? Uhm. I wouldn't. There's really no reason to. I'm utterly confused as to why anyone would want to do such a thing at all. I suppose if you really love or really hated a book and you wanted to meet the author to get their autograph or chew them out, than I suppose you might try to figure out who they were, but I can't see how anyone would get that obsessed.
Than again, I did have a guy do just that, didn't I? It always baffled me, why he got hung up on me - to this day I still don't know what exactly got him started or why he chose me as his object of obsession. I remember the first time I hear of him, was when he posted on one of my friend's FaceBook walls and said to them, how he was my best friend and knew this and that about me. My friend asked me who he was and I went and looked at the message and couldn't figure it out. Wasn't any body I'd ever heard of. He did that off and on for a couple of years, and it wasn't til 3 years later that I actually meet him, via his showing up at my church - it was the only time I ever saw him face to face. After that he started sending me tweets on Twitter saying I was to be his second wife. Next thing I knew his wife was sending me nasty messages claiming I was breaking up their marriage. They both messaged me back and forth for a while, I just ignored them at first, than I blocked them. He created several more accounts, I blocked those as well, than in 2010 I didn't hear any more. Sigh of relief. In 2012 I was contacted by police who informed me that they'd put him in prison in 2011. I was wait - what? They told me the FBI had been following him for quite some time, several issues, of which stalking was the least of. I was...uhm...okaaay, so why did no one tell me this guy was dangerous before? I mean, I had reported him to the police a couple of times back before I blocked him, they never got back to me on it until after he was in prison. It was just weird. Not a good weird either, but a scary weird.
But yeah, so I mean I can understand what you are saying, there are people out their who are creepy enough to do what you are worried about, I know because I crossed paths with one, but as for how to go about finding the info they would try to find? No clue. I'm not a tech savvy person, I know a few things here and there, but you know how to find somebody who doesn't want to be found? Nope. No clue how you'd do that.
I suppose the thing that puzzles me most is, what would inspire a person to want to trace down an author's real name to begin with? That's the part I don't understand. I just can not see what the motive for such action would possibly be.
As for would Amazon give out your info? I seriously doubt it. Amazon is not known for replying to messages at all. They are a big company and have a system of automated replies for every email. It's pretty hard to get past the automation and get to an actual human to begin with, and than you have to go through several people to get to some one who actually has access to info, so it'd be pretty hard for someone to even find someone at Amazon who could give out your information, but than you must consider they have all sorts of privacy policies in place that would prevent them giving out your info anyways.
Uhm...quick thoughts about the copyright infringement stuff you said. Okay, if you want complete anonymity you can't sue someone for copyright infringement. You clearly do not understand the copyright law and how it works.
Okay, so everything you write is copyrighted the second you write it, no need to register with the copyright office. HOWEVER, and this is a really big however, you can not ENFORCE your copyright unless you registered the copyright officially.
In other words, you have to take your REAL NAME and your Social Security Number, and fill out a form, and state "here's the book i wrote" (send them 5 copies of it) and specify the pen name is actually you. If you have no done this, you can not sue someone for stealing it...or you can sue them, but you will have a hard time winning, because you need the copyright registration papers to show in court.
Or are you suggesting that the book you have "written" is in fact plagiarized and this is why you wish to write under a pen name, remain anonymous and worry about copyright lawsuits? Is it that you don't want Amazon giving your info to copyright lawyers?
I don't know. I must say I just can not make heads or tails of your motivation for asking this question at all.
Just like every other author who uses a pen name? Good gawd! What planet did you drop off of anyways? You don't know anything about authorship or publishing at all do you? You are so seriously clueless it ain't funny.
I have been in the publishing industry since 1978, I've known hundreds of authors, editors, publishers, most all of them use several pen names, and I've yet to encounter or even hear of an author who used a pen name thinking it'd keep them anonymous.
Why do authors use pen names? Well lots of reason really. Many of Harlequin's top selling romance authors are men, but Harlequin doesn't carry a single title with a male name on it, because of the theory: How many women are going to read a romance novel if it was written by a man?
The same is true of many thriller and horror writers (thus why so few female names exists in these genres, because few readers will buy a thriller or horror if it has a female author.)
It is very rare than any author of romance, male or female, uses their real namr, with the reason being that they use a pen name is because their real name just doesn't sound sexy enough to be the name of a romance author.
It is very rare for erotica to carry the author's real name, and this is because of the high rate of stalkers, death threats, and psycho mail (varying from "I know where you live and I'm going to rape you because I know you want it other wise you would not have written ____" to "you home wrecking slut, my husband is chasing hussies because he read your book") which erotica authors get.
teacher BY LAW never write under their real name because they WILL lose
their job if the school district finds out. School teachers who are
authors, comes under "conflict of interests in the work place" laws that
public (aka government owned and operated) school have in place. School
teachers ALWAYS use pen names and than pray they are not discovered. I
was originally in college to become a teacher, until I reached the point
of doing the school visits and interviews and was stunned to be told
the same thing at each school I went to: "Nope, if you are an author we
can't hire you; conflict of interests."
The most common reason for a pen name is, if you write several genre, you use a different name for each one: one name for Westerns, another name for Sci-Fi, etc. (This is what I do.)
I write under several pen-names:
With the exception of my erotica/gay/porn/BDSM works I have my "author's photo" on the back covers of all of my books (non available as ebooks yet) and at the back of each book is an "About the Author" page, which also shows a photo of me. Each pen-name has a different photo, and I do look VERY different in each of them, so much so that from 1978 until 2006 no one made the connection between my various names.
In 2006 one of my readers, very proud of having "figured it out" broadcasted the fact all over FaceBook, including the fact that he also located where I lived, so posted my home address all over the place online, which at first he got wrong, resulting in him buying a house 2 towns away from me and than yelling on my FB wall wanting to know why I told him I lived there...I was like whhaaat? I never told anybody I lived anywhere. Next thing I knew there was a new guy at my church asking everyone where I lived, until he found someone stupid enough to tell him, and than he bought a house 5 away from mine- and a year later he showed up at my house and burned it down because I had refused to leave my husband and marry him instead! He's now in prison and his wife blames me for breaking up their marriage, and I still have no clue who these people even are other than this guy whom I'd never heard of prior to his showing up in my church made hell of my life for a while.)
Well, by the time I found out he'd been broadcasting my home address all over FaceBook it was too late to do anything about it and now I'm stuck with random fans showing up in my yard throughout the year and especially during the summer (seeing how I live on a family tourist vacation spot beach, they have the excuse, "Hey, we just happened to bring out family here for vacation and figured we stop by and see if you were in, while we were here for the summer, you don't mind do you?"
- Oh no, of course not, I don't mind random strangers, walking past the more than a dozen 'no trespassing' signs that line my yard, trapsing all over my yard taking pictures of my home and family to post on their FB walls without my permission, especially not after a psycho fan burned my house down and almost killed me and my family 6 years ago....*sarcasm*
Even if they don't know my exact address they know they are in the right town and that I drive a car with 2.5million marbles glued to it, so it's a simple matter of driving around or 3mile long by 1 mile wide micro tiny town for a few hours until they spot my car, to find me - you have no idea the amount of mess this guy made for my family when he posted my home address all over FB!).
I mean, good gawd! I'm not famous enough to have a psycho fan, how the
hell did I get a psycho fan? And you know what's even freakier? That he
was the SECOND psycho fan I've had show up at my house! You always hear
about crazy fans going bonkers on famous people, but you never think you
are famous enough to attract anyone like that, right?
Thus since 2007, all of the above mentioned pen-names are cross listed in my back-matter pages (the "more by" page), and the "About the author" page now says I live in Old Orchard Beach, because well, every body already knows it now anyways.
But let's get back to your question. Part of it here sticks out to me and it's where you say:
Uhm...it sounds to me like you ARE afraid of someone "trolling" you or "using information against" you, other wise why would you even bring it up at all? I mean, it's not the type of thing that comes up in normal conversation, and you just randomly threw it in there for no real reason at all, indicating you are thinking about it and you wouldn't be thinking about it if you were not worried about it and you would not be worried about it if you were not afraid of it happening. Can you see my point here? I'm just wondering why you would even say that at all.
Authors tend to be flamboyant, eccentric, introverts who like their privacy, but rarely do they go all super extreme and lock themselves away and use evasive pen names to keep from being found. There's a difference between being an eccentric introvert and being a paranoid hermit.
You belief that every author who uses a pen name is trying to hid, is, well, wrong.
Like I said, I know a lot of authors, nearly all of them use at least one pen name and I don't know any that use a pen name because they are trying to hide from anything or any one. Authors using pen names to be secretive is just an urban myth.
I'm trying to decide if you are changing pronouns from "I/me/my" to "you/you/you" because you are suddenly talking about me and my web site personally, or if you are saying "you/you/you" as a general term meaning anybody in general and not any body in particular. And I can't help but notice how you misspell ISPN as IP the same way my stalker who is now in prison did.
Adding in the term "Moderator status" seems a bit odd and out of place. Because again it implies you are speaking to me personally and addressing my website directly.
Now see, something is not right here, because there is no commenting function on my site either. I mean, there could be one, if I decided to add that feature, but having run a blog since 2003, I learned a long time ago that user comments are rarely constructive and more often than not are just robots posting spam. I don't need a dozen comments saying "Agreed!" either. But here you are ranting about comments and members?
Needless to say this part of your question I find seriously baffling and puzzling. It almost feels like you wrote it for someone else and sent it to me by mistake.
Yes, if I ever did add comment features to this site, there are ways to have it track ISPNs of the comments, that's how you would block a spammer from posting links all over the place.
Again, more puzzlement on my part. I don't understand the logic in WHY. It's quite simply a question of: Why? Why would someone go through all this trouble? Track an ISPN, track an email, sniff out their social network accounts....why? For what purpose? To what end?
I mean, I can see what you are saying, how you are explaining that this is more or less easy to do, and I'm sure their are people who do it, but I just don't understand why do you think someone would do it to you? Why are you so afraid of this happening that you are terrified to publish your book? Are you not just blowing your fears out of proportion?
I can see how if this has happened to you in the past that you would understandably be afraid of it happening again, but you seem more to be trying to figure out how to do it to someone else, rather than how to prevent it from happening to you. I'm not picking up fear on your part so much as I am picking up determination and resolve. Your writing doesn't seem to suggest fear, as much as it is suggesting frustration. It sounds like you have done these things in attempt to uncover an author's name and are frustrated at running into dead ends, and now seeking out the advice of authors know for using pen names.
The strange wording on parts of you question, cause me to wonder how many other authors have you sent this question too? As I said your phraseology feels like you wrote it for someone else and sent it to me by mistake or perhaps you wrote it once and sent it to several recipients?
Again, it's fascinating the amount of thought and effort you are putting into this whole scenario here. Either you are mega super paranoid and probably should be locked in a psych ward getting treatment or you are considering stalking somebody, in which case you probably should be locked in a psych ward getting treatment. Either way you sound like some one in desperate need of being locked in a psych ward getting treatment.
I mean you do realize the amount of thought you are putting into this whole situation, sends off all sorts of red flags about the type of person you are, right? Normal people do not sit around wasting time thinking about how to stalk someone. Police offices and the like would do so, because it's their job to think like criminals in order to catch them, but to just randomly sit there thinking this stuff up, either because you are afraid of it happening or because you plan to do it, is not normal habits of normal people.
I'd say you seem to have quite a bit more than a good idea how cyber stalking works.
But let me ask you this: Are you sure you thought of EVERYTHING?
I'm not a big fan of keeping secrets and hiding things. Whenever I hear someone using a pen name because they want to be secret, I always wonder what sort of criminal activity they are trying to hide.
So what about taxes, copyrights, anonymity, all that jazz? You may have thought a lot of this through, but you didn't think about copyrights...and you admit as much...hmmm...me thinks you missed the boat when they handed out brains.
Well, you COULD go out and write a book under a pen name and never tell anyone your real name, but that will lead to legal troubles and lots of head aches down the road, I mean, you do have to pay taxes, and you can't do that with a pen name, you have to pay taxes under your real name.
Something you didn't think of is your tax records are public record, anybody can walk into any town hall in the country and get a copy of them. It's a paper trail that you CAN NOT hide, and people who really want your identity, will have gotten a hold of your tax records a long time before they started chasing your online footprint. Offline paper trails are still the way crooks find info.
So, do you live in an underground bunker as well?
You can't NOT tell the IRS you wrote a book. There's a little thing called the ISBN# that the government requires you slap on your book, which they use to track sales and be certain you are paying the IRS your proper taxes. So, Amazon takes your SSN down and than assigns you a ISBN and they IRS knows who you are, and your tax records get put in a huge database, that is public record and any one who can walk into any town hall can get a copy of that. Funny thing is, this one taxes being public record bit is the thing that trips up a lot of criminals because they forget the obvious - you can't hide from the government.
And besides "shill accounts" (multiple accounts for one person) are against the ToS of EVERY single social network so, if you build separate accounts for each pen name you risk them all being deleted and your ISPN (your computer) being banned.
And that's assuming I'm the type of dead beat, low life prick who's got nothing better to do with my time than chase down rude commenting dweebs, out of vengeance. Are you really that corrupt and twisted that you think every one lives by your petty sense of eye for an eye?
Yes, and what part of my extreme adherence to obeying Jesus commandments of love and peace and turning the other cheek, do you not understand? I mean, this is EelKat you are addressing this to here. An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth makes the world blind and toothless. It amazes and astounds me the sort of broken logic people like you use to arrive at such ludicrous ideas.
And yet, I know from the countless emails I receive from authors who say they get blasted by nasty revenge based 1-star reviews, that this sort of thing you are describing does in fact happen. There are in fact people so evil and corrupt that they would stoop to acts of vengeance, but it astounds me that such people even exist. It simply baffles my mind that there are people who are so far from knowing the love of Jesus that they could act this way.
But is this your great fear? Are you jumping through all these insane hoops of attempted anonymity just to avoid negative reviews? Honey, if that's the case than you have some strangely warped priorities because there are far worse things in life than a cyber stalker giving you a negative review.
I don't get it. I just don't get it at all. Why would any author go through so much trouble to hide their identity? It astounds me that you would be willing to bend over backwards like this, just to publish an ebook. I mean what the heck is wrong with the ebook that you want to distance yourself from it that badly? If there's that much wrong with the book, did you ever consider that maybe what you wrote is illegal and Amazon wouldn't even publish it anyways?
I just have so many questions as to the motivation you have for this whole great big scenario you are thinking up here.
No, Honey, there are not. No matter how hard you try their is no such thing as anonymity with a pen name.
For one thing you CAN NOT publish a book ANYWHERE, traditional, self-published, vanity press, small press, indie, whatever, WITHOUT your Social Security Number. It's not possible. What this means is, in order to publish a book under any name, you MUST sign a contract with somebody (who ever it is that is paying your royalties to you - in my case that would be LuLu, RPGNow, Amazon, and SmashWords) and that somebody knows your real name, your real phone number, your real home address, and your real SSN.
Why? Because come tax time, they (Amazon, etc) have to send in lots of forms to the IRS, telling the IRS, this SSN here sold this many books, for this much, and we paid them this percentage. Amazon does not tell the IRS: the author wrote under this name and that name and the other name. No. Amazon gives the IR one thing and one thing only: your Social Security Number.
When you publish a book, even if you have 10 separate accounts with Amazon, you only have one Social Security Number, so Amazon (or your publisher) will always link all accounts together from the tax end of things, when it comes time to report to the IRS.
When it comes to legal stuff, copyrights, and taxes, it DOESN'T MATTER what name is printed on the cover of the book, all that matters is your Social Security Number written on the signed contract. You can write any name you want on the cover of your book, but when it comes time to prove copyright or pay taxes, it's your Social Security Number on your publishing contract that is going to determine who wrote that book, who takes credit for that book, who gets paid royalties on that book, and who has to pay taxes on that book.
You pay taxes using the name on your Social Security Card, paying taxes using any other name constitutes fraud and will land you 25 years in prison. NEVER file taxes under a pen name, it's a serious federal crime.
Okay...now here's where we get to the part that really made me question your motives. Specifically this part here:
This is the red flag of your question, the line that send up all kinds of warning signals. See, the way you word this line, you just don't sound like an author trying to hide.
Why didn't you say: "I want to know if there are ways someone will find out MY pen name?"
You started out asking if someone could find out your pen name, but after the first paragraph you changed from "I/me/my" to "you/you/you" and ended with "someone/someone/someone". See all that being careful about not slipping up you went on about, well, you slipped up when you changed pronoun use.
What happened? I'll tell you. You changed point of view. It's something authors know quiet well, because we write in character all the time so we notice when POV changes while we are reading. The average reader doesn't pick up on it, but authors do.
You started out with "i/me/my" because you were pretending to be an author and you wanted to sound like you had written a book and needed advice on publishing said book. But because it wasn't natural for you to think of yourself as an author, you stopped using "I.me/my" and switched to "you/you/you" because I am an author and you began addressing me as the author figure instead of yourself.
But that at the very end, the truth came out when you switched again, this time to "someone/some/someone", indicating that you were thinking of someone in particular, not yourself or me. You moved out of the unnatural role of playing the author, to the accusatory role of addressing an actual author, and moved into your natural comfort zone of "I want to stalk somebody but I can find out their real name."
You had no idea you did it either. Had you stayed consistent in your pronoun use, and throughout this entire long question, maintained your cover of "I am the author", "my pen name", "my ebook", "I need to protect myself", "I feel like I'm in danger", "how will they find me"... I would never have questioned your motivation or your honesty.
And speaking of honesty, let's talk about that. Why did you add the word "honestly"?
Did you know that there are many studies out there which suggest that honest people never use the word "honest" (in any form) in their conversations? The reason being because they never think to tell a lie in the first place, thus they don't think to try to convince you they are telling the truth.
The word "honestly" stands out, because it is a rarely used word, and in most cases the only time it is ever used, is when some one is telling you a lie and they want to convince you they are not lying.
I think the thing which bugs me most here is your stance. You TRY to sound like you are afraid, but that doesn't last and quickly gives way to "I have to find", "tell me how to find". At no point do you say "I'm afraid for my life", "I feel I need protection", "I don't want to get hurt"...no, it's all "tell me how to find", "give me instructions to find".
Yes, but you are not good at matching your own writing style, as I just pointed out, you can't even pick up on the fact that you changed POV three times while you were writing, how can you expect to pick up on someone else's writing style?
I am puzzled by your constainly coming back to Amazon and demanding to know why they won't give you an author's name? It seems to me that you have tracked some one by their pen name, found them on other sites you mentioned, but can only find the pen name not the real name so sought out to contact Amazon and are angry that Amazon has refused to give you their name, so you are trying to find a way around Amazon, because you reached (as you put it) a brick wall.
Honey, you are in the WRONG business.
Authors do not have privacy. No body in an entertainment media career has privacy. Authors, actors, musicians. You don't have to be famous to have fans. And it only takes one fan to track you down.
No, I can't prove you wrong, all I can do is say, I've yet to hear of anyone in the entertainment industry who was able to maintain total privacy. Perhaps since you think it is possible, you could prove to me it happen by coming up with an author who has been successful in doing it?
The only way to maintain privacy and be an author is to write and never publish anything.
I would ask you to consider this: WHY do you want to publish your book, if you don't want to be connected to it? What are your goals for this book? Why publish it at all, if you don't want your name out there?
And I see you've switched POVs again, in closing, as in opening, you revert back to "I/me/my" once again.
Well, maybe, but as I said, I can't think of any authors who are paranoid enough to use a pen name in this manner.
But why do you think I could do such a thing when it is clear I do not have the skill to undertake it? I do not maintain anonymity myself how would I be able to advise others on how to do so? It's silly to think I would be able to create tips like this when it's not a skill I possess.
I'm sorry, did I miss something?
You've gone from "my" to "you" to "we".
Should I be forwarding this email to the police?
"We" should put together a list? You and me? What? Why? You'r a stranger to me, I don't know who you are, I don't even want to know who you are, so why do you think to use the word "we"? Are you suggesting that you maintain your anonymity by having me ghost write for you? I'm not a ghost writer honey, so that ain't happening.
I'm gonna ask again: what do you have to hide? Who did you murder? I mean, come on! I have known 3 different people with paranoid schizophrenia and you're making them sound normal right now. Honey, I don't think you realize just how psychotic you are coming off right now.
Sharing information on how to stalk people seems to be exactly you intent.
I have a thought, why do you write a book on anonymity and how to maintain it, publish it under a pen name using your own suggestions and than prove to the world that the book is your evidence by asking people who read the book to attempt to figure out who you are? If you are so desperate to prove it can be done, than I can think of no better way for you to prove it than by doing it.
My real name is: EelKat Wendy Christine Allen Wildes. That's kind of a mouthful. For starters it's 5 words and 9 syllables long. How many authors do you see with more than 3 word names? Not many. Originally pennames were used for 2 reason:
#1: My full real name was too long to look good on the cover of a book. EelKat Wendy Christine Allen Wildes is so long it takes up half the cover space and leaves no room for the cover or the book title! LOL! The only way to fit my name on the cover of the book was to make the font so small that it couldn't be read or shorten my name.
#2: I write: Gorn, Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Western Romance, Historical Romance, Space Romance, Gothic Romance, Paranormal Romance, Medival Romance, Redneck Romance, Yukon/Klondike Gold Rush Romance, Sweet Romance, Christian Romance, Mormon/LDS Romance, Voodoo/Hoodoo Romance, Mormon/LDS Slice of Life Vingettes, Voodoo/Hoodoo Slice of Life Vingettes, Redneck Slice of Life Vingettes, A Day in the Life of a Retired Porn Star Drag Queen Slice of Life Vingettes, Children's Easy/Early Readers, Children's Picture Books, Space Opera, Space Fantasy, WWII Survival Stories, UFO/Alien Abduction Tales, M/M Erotica, M2F/M Tranny M/M Erotica, Medival BDSM Sadism Torture Erotica, Porn, Incest Erotica [i](NOT pseudo-incest)[/i], Stockholm Rape Fantasy Erotica, Necrophilia Erotica, Monster Sex, Vampire Sex, Alien Sex, Tentacle Sex, Absurdist Fiction, Weird Fiction, Bizarro, Gallows Humor, Satire, Splatter Punk, Grind House, InuYasha (Sessomaru-x-Rin taboo sex) Fan-Fiction and anything else that strikes my fancy. I also write non-fiction. AND I'm a ghostwriter who writes Sunday Sermons for ministers of about 15 different denominations.
For everyone of those "genres" I wrote under a separate penname... :-X :-\
A large percentage of my stories have been baned, only a few can be sold in bookstores without the "M-Rated" sticker slapped on the cover, about 40% of what I write can't be published on Amazon, about half of that can't legally be published in the USA at all. (Was legal in the 1970s when I started writing it, was still legal in the 1980s when I wrote most of it, stopped being legal in 1997 and I've still written but not been able to publish it since 1997). Thus the need for pennames on my more taboo genres.
I write under the names:
Wendy C Allen
Wendy Christine Allen
The Bride of Sesshomaru
and many more... :o
As you can see most of my pennames are derivatives of my real name. My fan-fiction is written under the appropriate name to match the dog-demon topic of said fan fiction, and my erotica is written under various "porn star" names.
Back in the 1970s when I was only writing about 4 genres and using about 4 pennames it was easy to handle. Plus back than social media did not exist, so nothing to worry about there. Back than it was VERY difficult for readers to figure out penname A was the same author as penname B, so pennames were an easy way to separate genres.
Throughout the years my most popular genre was one long running Space Fantasy Horror serial of short stories written under the penname EelKat. While EelKat was a very popular author in certain circles, all of my other pennames were obscure and did not have much of a following.
I went online in 1997, and due to the popularity of EelKat, I created all my online names, usernames, forum names, social media accounts, emails, etc (more than 300 total) under the name EelKat. For several years that was fine.
In 2007 I hit a snag, a big one. It seems the side effect of writing weird-illegal/barely legal porn, is you attract weird-illegal/barely legal fans. My family started having issues in 2001. Issues involving photos of gun taped to the front door, mail box smashed, car egged, house paint balled...that sort of thing. Police attributed it to a local gang that had a habit of doing such things, and did not investigate beyond that assumption. The gang was a problem, one we knew and saw and like the police we too thought it was the gang. One thing did stand out though: the gang rarely hit the same place twice, and our house was being targeted on a nearly weekly basis for 6 years. Everyone assumed it was the gang, until October 2006 when I woke up at 1AM to find my house engulfed in flames. I'm lucky to be alive. The investigation discovered that the fire was started by a bomb built out of an electric grease fryer filled with fly-tapes, set on high. The police initially told us, "You must have fallen asleep with the fryer on and fly tapes fell off the ceiling into it." Only trouble there was: I didn't own a grease fryer.
Again, the police said "Must be the gang", I stopped believing that. at the time I ran an animal shelter/rescue which housed 500 cats, dogs, birds, horses, goats, chickens...and one day I came home to find 75 roosters with their heads cut off and their bodied tied to my rose bushes. That was soon followed by 12 Sundays of me returning home from church to find a dead cat...one headless, one tailless, 5 poisoned...police stopped blaming the gang and started looking closer. May 2010, I came home to find my car (a 1964 Dodge 330) cut in half. Who cuts a car in half? What is wrong with this guy?
In July of 2011 a man was arrested and sent to prison. A man I had meet through NaNoWriMo's local writing group, which I now know he only joined in order to locate me specifically. A man who moved to Saco, Maine from out of state because FaceBook had erroneously listed my address as Saco, because my ISP is based in Saco, but than whom sold his Saco house and moved in 5 houses down the road from me. A man who in 2009 got himself the job of Bishop's counselor at my church. The man who in 2010 went on FaceBook and published all my pennames and my home address and began advocating Christians to boycott me, which they did via angry mobs marching around my yard carrying signs, which resulted in the town posting 2 police officers at the end of my driveway for several months and to this day, I still have a patrol car that is assigned to do nothing but circle my block, all day, all night, every day, for the past several years.
Before 2010 nobody made the connection between EelKat and Wendy C Allen. JB had hacked my computer and was posting my home address and all of my names all over the internet: FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Squidoo, Blogger, WordPress...he had created 100s of accounts for the specific purpose of "outing" me. And this was going on for quite some time, before I found out about it. Of course, finding out about it was what led to his arrest seeing how he was also bragging online of how he was harassing me and I didn't know it. He was so confident that I would never Google myself, that he made no secrets online about what he was doing.
His downfall was the bishop, who on JB's recommendation decided to excommunicate me and than announce he was doing so on my FaceBook wall. Two days later, he showed up at my house and said: "I had the change the church's phone number last night, after I got 2,000 phone calls from just about every state and every country on the planet. I got phone calls from Germany and Finland and Austraila! I couldn't believe it. They'll fans of yours. Church leaders from Salt Lake City are on my back, they've been getting calls from your fans too. I had to Google you to find out what was going on and I got 100,000 search results! You're like famous or something? Why didn't you tell me you were famous. I thought you was a nobody. " All I said to him was: "You were posting the church's phone number on my FB Wall, and you didn't notice I have 7,000 followers from all over the world? My FB account's not private you know, any one of 8 billion people can read it."
Well, JB commented on the Bishop's comments on my FB wall, next thing I know there's an all out war going one between my FB friends and members of my church. My FB account is automated with Hootsuite so I only log in like once every 3 months... I had no idea this war was going on on my FB Wall, until I logged in and I had 12,000 private messages and thousands of wall comments and I was trying to sort through it and it was too much so I just went to the police station and asked an officer if somebody could take a look at my FB Wall and do something about this, because from what I'm reading, I'm pretty sure the guy who put a bomb in my house back in 2006 is on there right now bragging about it.
Several local officers, and several state police officers sent me friend requests and started sifting through the mess, and few months later JB was in prison, my real name and home address was splattered all over the internet along with all my pennames trailing behind and I was left to rethink pennames and what to do with them, now that it was pretty much pointless for me to have them anymore.
Of course I also now have PTSD and Agoraphobia to deal with, that on top of the fact that I have Autism...not a good mix. Do you have any idea what it is like trying to call the fire department or the police and explaining to them why you are calling, when you have Autism and can't vocally string enough words together to make a full sentence?
One of the truly unfortunate things about what JB did was, not all the names on his list, were actually me. There were about 7 other authors who got pulled into this, simply because they wrote a style similar to mine and thus JB assumed they were other pennames of mine. They were none too happy about him dragging them into this mess either. Plus he searched my FB Friend's list for every friend with Wendy, Christine, or Allen (in any variation of spelling) in their names, and went and linked back to all of their accounts, likewise accusing them of being me! Their were almost 200 of my fans dragged into this that way. It was a mess. It was a huge mess, caused by one very bitter, vengeful man, who to this I have no idea why he got so hung up on me. I mean, why me? I'm not even famous.
I look at this and it's all very confusing for me, because I still don't understand why this guy did what he did. And I can't help but think, that if I had not been using pennames, it might never have happened, because it seems this guy got hung up on trying to figure out who I was. Somewhere he ran into a book by one penname and it offended him, and so he went on a mad search to track down all my other pennames until he was able to track down my real name and where I lived. But why? Why did he do it at all? What possess a person to do something like that? I mean I could see somebody famous like Stephen King running into weird fans like this, but I don't have enough fans to have fans like this! Sure I have fans and am known in a few certain small niched genre circles, but in the large scheme of things you compare me to other authors and I'm just a single tiny rain drop in a giant lake. Outside of the tiny underground niches I write for, I'm completely unknown and lost in the floodwaters of the many way more popular writers. Main stream readers have never heard of me. So, why me? I kind of think he was nothing more than a small time minister trying to make a big name for himself among radical evangelists and I just happened to be the first author with a book that rubbed him the wrong way.
Of course I always have to ask myself... how was it that a church leader came to discover his favorite erotica author was also writing his 3-year old's fave children's books? Can you see the irony of it? I mean, that's what the whole problem was. You had a church leader whose wife discovered he was reading some far-reaching erotica and he retaliated by claiming it was research to get try to get me excommunicated. How did he even find my porn? It write it under porn star names, most of them fruit or pastries, and posted only on adult sites that you have to pay to read. How does a church leader get a hold of something like that to begin with? What was he doing with a paid membership to a porn site, where he could even find my erotica to begin with? How many years was he reading my stuff before he got caught with it? The whole thing basically boiled down to a church leader was caught with some hard core erotica and he had to lay the blame on someone so why not the author.
I was online from 1997 to 2007 without ever mentioning my name, where I lived, my family, nothing...people didn't even know I lived in Maine. There was no connection between EelKat (my ONLY online persona) and any of my other pennames.
Of course good did come out of this as well, because now fans of EelKat know that EelKat wrote a lot more than they thought she did, so they are heading out to find stuff by my other pennames now, but still, like I said...it left me with no real reason to continue using ANY of my pennames as they were all connected now. Sure new readers coming in have no idea one name has anything to do with the other, but with all my old readers knowing, it won't take long for my new readers to find out, so what's the point anymore?
I had to do a lot of soul searching on this one, because this guy not only turned my family life upside down, but he also pretty much tore my career to shreds. I feel like I'm being forced to start my career all over again from scratch. Like I have to "reinvent myself".
The fortunate thing was outside of erotica, all of my pennames were derivatives of my real name. That makes it easy for me to consolidate everything into one name, but that also brings me back to:
[quote]My real name is: EelKat Wendy Christine Allen Wildes. That's kind of a mouthful. For starters it's 5 words and 9 syllables long. How many authors do you see with more than 3 word names? Not many. Originally pennames were used for 2 reason:
#1: My full real name was too long to look good on the cover of a book. EelKat Wendy Christine Allen Wildes is so long it takes up half the cover space and leaves no room for the cover or the book title! LOL! The only way to fit my name on the cover of the book was to make the font so small that it couldn't be read or shorten my name.[/quote]
Well, I had to sift through everything I've ever written and figure out which penname to keep using and which ones to drop. As it turns out, EelKat is still my most popular penname and of course it's the penname used online as usernames etc, so it is logical to keep on using EelKat. But a lot of my stuff was also under Wendy C Allen or Wendy Christine Allen. What do I do with those?
My solution? I pay the IRS as Wendy C Allen, therefore I set up my Amazon name as Wendy C Allen to make it easier come tax time. I kept my online user names as EelKat, but on several of them, I have now changed the username to EelKat aka Wendy C Allen or EelKat Wendy C Allen. Again, makes it easier for me and my readers.
All of my NEW book covers now say: Wendy C Allen, Wendy Christine Allen, or EelKat Wendy Christine Allen. I have completely dropped ALL other pennames. I'm in the process of combining pennames, which is why on some of my book covers you see "Wendy C Allen" and on others you see "EelKat Wendy Christine Allen". All of my books (some 200+ titles) are being converted over to "EelKat Wendy Christine Allen".
But what am I supposed to do with my Children's Books, my Christian Romance, and my banned illegal M-Rated Gorn-Erotica-Porn? does my Mormon Bishop wants me to consolidate pennames? Okay. Than I'll leave it Mormon parents to explain to their 8 year olds the meaning of rape, gangbang, vibrators, dildos and condoms, when their children go looking for more of my books and find my porn. If my Mormon readers want to know why I don't separate my children's books from my porn anymore, I'll just direct them to my Mormon Bishop in prison and let him explain why I don't separate my genres by penname anymore, because Hey! It was his idea and he's the one who broke the barriers and made using pennames utterly useless to me, and I'll ask them to ask him to explain why to them why he, a so called man of God, who in spite of being in prison for attempted murder stills hold a temple recommend I might add, why he murdered 12 of my cats and tried to kill me via a bomb in my house. I mean...was this guy even using his brain when he went and blabbed online "Hey, the woman who writes these childrens books also writes these sex books"? Seriously? He wants to protect children from me, by telling them how to find my sex titles? Does he even have a brain? I wasn't hiding the fact that I wrote both, all my friends and family knew I was writing both, I never hid the fact that I had 15 or so pennames, but I also wasn't broadcasting it all over the planet either.
I had the pennames to separate my genres, because I was writing in some seriously conflicting genres here. I write children's books for 8 year olds AND I write hard core erotica that's outright porn. I mean you don't want 8 year olds looking for other books by their fave author and running across stuff that's too raunchy for Playboy! But keeping them separate is down the drain now, because readers of one now know I write the other. I mean, personally I don't mind writing everything under one name, it's certainly easier for me, but I write Christian Romance AND Grind House Porn. It's not going to bother my grindhouse readers if I write Christian romance too, but I lost every one of my Christian readers when they discovered I write Porn, so you know, no reason for me to bother writing any Christian Romance anymore. Parents went up in arms (and promptly landed on my FB Wall to tell me so) when they found out the author of these sweet little children's picture books also writes freaky off the wall sex tales. He basically killed my career in both Children's books and Christian romance; I can keep writing them, but who's gonna buy them now? I'd have to start over with all new pennames for my Christian and Children's titles and I really don't want to do the whole starting over thing. I mean, you can see WHY I was writing under pennames.
Sure it's no big deal when the genres are sci-fi versus fantasy, horror versus romance, etc, pennames there are more to tell your reader "Hey this book is horror so I wrote it under this name to make it easier for you to know which genre it was."
Or as DWS put it:
[quote]Readers identify certain types of books by the name of the author. You pick up a Max Brand these days and you expect to get an old-style western. (Max Brand was a pen name of a failed poet.) A Max Brand reader would be very angry if they started to read a Max Brand novel and discovered an old vampire lusting after young girls.
My wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes under some major names. Her name is known as a science fiction and fantasy writer. And her fantasy series, The Fey, is a dark, high fantasy with lots of blood and death. So when she came up with a light, warm, humorous fantasy series set here and now using fairy tales, she didn’t want to confuse her readers and make the readers that liked one kind of fantasy and not the other angry. So Kristine Grayson, the bestselling paranormal romance writer, was born for the funny fantasy books. - See more at: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=6287#sthash.SQbct5J1.dpuf
As DWS says, not wanting to confuse and/or anger readers was a big reason behind my having so many pennames. But you are not going to lose readers over something like that. The bigger issue for me is we are talking about a HUGE shift from one genre to another: books for tiny tots versus hard core sex and sexless Christian stories versus again hard core sex. Parents don't want to order all their child's fave author's books and find some of them are FAR from being children's bedtime stories! And Christians don't want to read about a Pagan girl calling up her favorite tentacle demons for a smexy gangbang slumber party. See? There was a REASON I had separate pennames.
Fact is, I used to separate my pennames because I cared about readers and their children, but since one of my readers tried to kill me, I kind of lost touch with caring about strangers anymore. Having a stalker opens your eyes to things that are really important, like protecting your family from creeps who build bombs on Monday after preaching in church on Sunday. In that perspective, it kind of makes things like separating genre by penname look silly and insignificant and pointless. In a way he made things easier for me: less pennames to juggle and fewer people to care about.
Reader opinions used to matter to me. They don't anymore. That's where you see the change now. I used to use pennames to avoid confusing readers. I used to use pennames to avoid making readers angry. I used to use pennames to keep readers happy. Using pennames is very stressful. Trying to decide which penname to publish which story under is stressful. Worrying if I'll upset readers because this title is too (horror, sci-fi, romance, etc) for this penname.
It took a reader putting a bomb in my house to open my eyes to the fact that it doesn't matter what readers think. Why? Because I go out of my way to make it easier for my readers to find the genres they want to read and not trip over genres they don't want to read, and keep my smut separated from my children's books, and even after I run back and forth between 15+ pennames and bend over backwards juggling these pennames to keep my readers happy, I still end up with a majorly pissed off reader building a bomb that put my dad in a coma, left me homeless and living under a 8x6 tarp for 7 years and nearly killed me and my family. Leaving me to ask: What was the point of trying to please my readers when it's impossible to please every one? It doesn't matter what I do, somebody somewhere is going to get pissed off anyways, so I might as well do what's easiest for me and let the readers figure it out for themselves. Or as Ricky Nelson said: "I can't please every one, so I might as well please myself." I waste hundreds of hours every year juggling pen names around to keep my readers happy, when I could be using those hundreds of hours to write more stories. Well, no more. From now on I'm just writing everything under my real name.
Do I recommend people use pennames? Yes, I do, if it feels right for you to do so, however, I will caution you that, pennames are not a bullet proof vest. If a reader wants to find out who you are: THEY WILL FIND OUT WHO YOU ARE. A penname is not a smokescreen, it's not going to hide you forever. If you are using a penname to the purpose of keeping your real identity a secret, know that a determined reader with good hacking skills can find out who you are in under 10 minutes. Know too that if a reader is determined enough to do that, has likely got a serious mental disorder that makes them very dangerous and you should call the police immediately if someone starts boasting they know your real name, before they have a chance to chow up at your house with a bomb. I learned that the hard way. Pennames were a good thing for me for well over 20 years, but thanks to a bad apple, pennames have become more trouble than they are worth now and so I will not be using them in the future.
Well, I get to the end of this and I can't help but think that it sounds like the question asker is some kind of crazy psycho-ex-husband hunting down his ex-wife, and knows she has a pen name, knows she's remarried but doesn't know her new married name or her pen name, so he wants to seek out books like hers, compare writing style, than chase down that pen name until he finds her new married name via the steps he outlined. I know it sounds crazy, but that's what I kept thinking while I was reading this email.
I hesitate to answer this email actually, because it is so freaked out crazy, but, than I got to thinking, because it is so freaked out crazy, maybe I should answer it, you know, maybe it'll save a life? Who knows, maybe some author will read it and take their work phone number off LinkedIn and inadvertently not get traced?
I don't know. I guess I attract some pretty strange readers because I get some pretty weird emails some times, and this is definitely one of the weirdest.