April 10 2017 Editor Assistance Newsletter
Keep those Facebook questions coming! I am very happy to help. Facebook is a great way to reach potential clients "where they live". Your post is seen by them as they're hanging out wanting to read things. It's a nearly ideal (and free!) way to reach people.
I wanted to talk for a minute about author names.
As those of you who follow my Facebook page (heh heh) might have noticed I've hit an issue with my book writing. Here's the gist.
I, under my real name of Lisa Shea, have published over 300 books in a variety of genres. I have books out in the mythology / fairy tale genre, for example. I'm known there for the books I've put out. I have been talking fairly vocally about a fairy tale series I've been working on for about a year starting with Cinderella. I've talked about how important it is for me to "rewrite" these in a way that encourage women not to endure abuse. Not to wait around for a man to rescue them. Not to stay with an abusive man and expect he'll change!! These are things that are quire important to me. It's why I've spent so long polishing this series.
I was preparing to release ...
Then, out of the blue, "another" Lisa Shea - a pen name for a woman - suddenly launched a Cinderella book and then a Beauty & the Beast book. To be clear, it's not that she stole my content. It's not my story. Rather, it's a cutesy version that perpetuates the issues I feel so strongly about. And it released under "my name" exactly when I was telling everyone I was releasing my own.
A bunch of my fans thought I had finally released and were going to buy these, thinking they were mine. It's even worse because when you click on the name "Lisa Shea" it goes to my books, so Amazon's system (and other systems) is falsely presenting these new books as written by the existing Lisa Shea (me).
As soon as I realized this was happening, I wrote their publisher, Hachette, to ask them to please differentiate her pen name out with an initial or something so it was clear that this Lisa Shea and HER Cinderella books were not the ones I've been telling my fans about for years. And then I was forced to speed-publish my own series which wasn't quite ready, so at least people could find me.
I would love any thoughts you have on mine. I can still tweak them and reload, if I missed something in this mad rush.
So here are two thoughts from all of this.
One - if you are an author, check Amazon and GoodReads every once in a while for anyone else using your name. It's OK if they're in a different genre. I didn't mind when a Lisa Shea wrote about Transformer Robots. That's an entirely different genre from me and the chance of readers getting confused was slim. But if someone is writing in the EXACT SAME GENRE - and heck with the EXACT SAME CHARACTERS - it's time to have a chat.
Two - if you are planning to start up under a new name, whether it's your own or a pen name - do your research first. Make sure nobody is currently publishing in that genre with that name. Even if your name really is Stephen King, and even if you really do adore horror stories, it's quite deceptive for you to start publishing horror novels under the name of Stephen King. There would be no way for readers to reasonably know you are a "different Stephen King". There are all sorts of ways to differentiate yourself. Use a middle initial. Use your first initial. Use a nickname.
Ask with any questions!
Lisa Shea, owner
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