I have had several family members and friends ask for help in publishing a book. Or how to get started. They don't write romance, some don't write fiction of any type...but no matter what you write or want to write, many of the steps are the same. I thought I would share some of these conversations with my readers, just in case any of you have the same interest.
Publishing that first book is incredibly rewarding. I'm at 14 books published and its still such a thrill each time one comes out.
Here are a few initial things to think about. I've included some links to help you get started researching some of these topics, reading what others have to say about writing, and explore what you would like to do.
One of the first things you need to consider is do you want to publish under the name you were born with, or do you want to choose a pen name? I write under Ravyn Wilde. My reasons for choosing a pen name could be vastly different than why you would choose one. But, when I was first published I still had children in school. I write HOT romance and didn't want my kids to take the heat for their mother...etc. It is also very real that there are weirdos out there that pose stalker problems. If you write under your real name you could eventually have issues.
However, you may have solid reasons for using your own name. The point is, start doing the research now and think about it so you are ready when you want to publish. Do some reading and decide what works for you. And don't forget to google and search on Amazon for the names you consider, even your own name. You don't want the books you write confused with another author's.
A second point with pen names - I have a teenage book I'm working on that will not be published under Ravyn Wilde...on purpose. I am still deciding if I will use a pen name or my real name for this book. But you want to avoid issues when there are vastly different heat levels or subject matter in your books. This actually happened to a well-known author.
Judy Blume was famous for her young adult novels, but when she started to write adult erotic novels under the same pen name they were nearly ALWAYS shelved in the YA section. Imagine a parent's surprise when you thought you were buying your teenage daughter the next in her favorite series...and got an extremely graphic adult book. Ouch! So there are reasons to use different pen names. It doesn't mean you can't cross promote. I imagine I will let my current readers know I have a teen paranormal book available when it's ready for release. Just remember that sometimes a little space is a good thing.
Another element with having a pen-name is when I write...I become Ravyn and its easier to get in the mindset. I'm not a mom, or a wife, I'm the author Ravyn. It works for me. 😉
A subset of mood is that you will need to think about Branding. Ravyn Wilde is a romance author...my real name...not so much. The very generic name I was born with doesn't evoke the feeling of romance, or of paranormal or sci/fi adventures! My tag line for my author emails and promo is: Fall in love with something Wilde! When I promo...its about Wilde Men, Wilde Women, etc. I have mugs that say Fall in love with something Wilde! Or - Wilde Thing! Or - Are you a Wilde Woman?
I stumbled into the branding part of this. For one thing, in 2002 branding wasn't really a thing. Author's didn't do a lot of their own promotion, it was done by publishing houses. So I didn't consciously think about or consider how to brand my pen name. I chose my pen name because when my husband reads my stories he calls me his raving lunatic. Raving became Ravyn. And Wilde is a takeoff from the author in Romancing the Stone...Joan Wilder. It worked incredibly well for me, but was a complete accident. Since times have really changed and you will definitely need to learn how to promo your author name, it is better to put some thought into it now. LOL.
As you are thinking about what name to use and researching options, consider that at some point you will need an author website (initially it might just be a Facebook page dedicated to your author persona) but you will need something for promo and you will want it to reflect your author branding. Just keep that in the back of your mind as you play with names and decisions.
To get you started on author name research, here are a few links to articles that address that issue in more detail. You can find more by simply googling pen name vs real name...or something like - reasons to use a pen name or reason to use your real name as an author.
6 Reasons for Authors to Use a Pen Name
These three articles are a good start and will give you lots to think about concerning your author name. Just don't forget to write. You need to learn how to divide your time between research, marketing, and writing. There is nothing to publish if you don't write the book.
While you are thinking about names, here are a couple articles on developing an author brand.
I don't want to overwhelm you. Or force you in any direction. The things I'll talk about in this blog will be things I wished I'd known BEFORE I published my first book. However, don't get so bogged down you never actually finish the book or choose a name. Sometimes all you can do is jump...and learn from experience.
Hope you enjoy this!