Friday, May 24, 2019

The Mysterious Teenage Hominid

 Writing For Teens:

There was no question why I wrote YA fiction in the first place. When I got into it, it was a thrilling, lucrative and expressive category. Harry Potter was dominating the charts. The Hunger Games appeared, along with Divergent and Twilight. Writing young adult fiction then was like being on s speeding freight train which had no brakes and a throttle that only went forward.

There are no estimates of how many writers jumped on that band wagon.

I remember my first real YA book, The Girl They Sold to the Moon. That tiny tome sold six times and took the first place grand prize in a YA novel writing contest, which was sponsored by a small publisher. That wasn't the reason I wrote it. I wrote it because I loved the characters, not the atmosphere, world or environment. Yet again, something clicked inside me. I had a handle on something. I could talk teen. Not spectacularly, but well enough to pull the wool.

Let me get something out of the way before I continue: I have a non de plume for my young adult stories--Christy J. Breedlove. There's no mystery in changing a name for a genre. But I changed my gender. J.K. Rowling's agent told her to give herself a neutral author name because "boys are less likely to read books written by girls." Hence, the J.K. initials. I just took it a step further. 

I believe women can be trusted by other women to write with more emotional impact and feeling. Women don't really have any problems reading the several male authors out there who excel in writing romance. However, women are less likely to read a romance crafted by a guy because it can't quite reach inside them like one of their own. I hoped and prayed that if spontaneous buyers of my young adult books believed they were crafted by a gal (at first), it might go easier for me. Even men believe that gals can lay down a young adult story with more connection and honesty. I know I do. So, no gender bias meant at all. Only respect.  (And no, I don't think I'm fooling anyone :)

Back on track: The teenage years are restless and oft times reckless years. They are an era in life that explores change, hopes, failures, experimentation, rebellion and growth. Especially growth. Most fundamental truisms are picked up during these formative years--rules or guidelines for life. What appeals to me so much about this time of life is that it can be so unstable. It's a time when tragic mistakes are made--emotional upheaval is magnified. To me, this gives me a sense of freedom in exploring some deep-felt topics. Unlike an adult that might be more prone to decorum and subtly, a teen might very well blunder into a situation, causing higher consequences and repercussions. 

The exploration of the teen mind can offer a ton of latitude in subject matter--life, death, love, hatred, bullying, lawlessness, substance abuse, incest, pregnancy and even murder. The young, let's face it, are resilient, forceful and courageous with their own convictions. They can take a hell of a lot of punishment, rebound and get their life's compass back on direction in record time. Sometimes they fail, but the harder they fail, the harder they strive to crush the demons. 

My guilty pleasure in writing for, or about teens, is my utter fascination with their nonconformity. Looking back upon my own kid-hood, I can glimpse my errors and snippets of absolute stupidity. This stupidity allows me cartloads of humor and irony in my writing. There is nothing quite like a couple of teens going at it verbally or physically, and in many cases, only to drive a point home. There's nothing quite like a teen hitting you smack between the eyes with blunt-force honesty. They regularly deal with each other in absolute truth. No words minced. Compared to adults, teens act; there's no lolly gagging. We do have the quiet, shy and retiring types, but those are exceptions, to what I think is the overall demeanor.

In an action/adventure tale, or a post-apocalyptic story, I can bring teens to the edge of death several times and have them ultimately survive. Physiologically, younger adults are more fit than adults. Have you ever seen a walking antibiotic? They can suffer and endure much more abuse than an older person. I have been known to take advantage of this fact time and time again. Youth--strength--indestructibility.   

I think teen fiction offers higher stakes, loftier emotions and grander outcomes. Nowhere is YA fiction better told than in the hands of the teenagers themselves. The young set has a finger directly on the pulse of their own lifestyles. They don't have to guess or research what they would do in any given circumstances--they know exactly the ways in which they would handle it, along with their own cultural oddities that so confuse the adults. Teens have a language all their own. You need a decoder ring to understand it. Look at their text messages--you need a cypher to crack them! Trust me, teens are not of this Earth!

As a person in my sixties, I cannot understand why I feel I was chosen to write young adult tales. Those years were some of the fondest times of my life. I don't look back upon them with disdain. Albeit, there were many cringe-worth times. There were stage plays and scenes of stark terror. But I remember them with an awestruck gusto, a bewildering time of adventure and exploration. My over-the-top emotional writing style seems to fit right into the plots and characters. I'm always learning, because there are so many writers out there, both young and old, who are masters at expressing the teen world. 

I'm only along for the ride.

I have a lot of reviews that are about to come in for this latest book. The trickle has started. So far everything seems beyond expectations. Yet, all of these reviewers seem to be teen or twenty-something women. I can just about guarantee that if I've got something wrong in the text, it's apt to be flagged. And I welcome that. It just means that I get to learn more secrets.

Christy/Chris--red-shifting outta here.

(BTW, blue shift means to come toward you. Red-shift means leaving or going away from you). 

 







Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Fan-Fiction Without Knowing It?

I've known for a long time what fan-fic is and what it's not. I know what channeling is too. And we know what plagiarism is all about. Fan-fiction is an honored tradition of carrying on a single book, series or saga with well-known and loved characters in a similar setting to the original. 50 Shades of Grey actually started out as Twilight fan-fiction, and then developed a life of its own. Channeling happens when you've written something very similar to a book or story that has already been published. Channeling can happen unconsciously, an innocent retelling of a story that is dear to the author, with many of its aspects reappearing in the second version. Some say there is deliberate type of channeling, kind of a preemptive mini-theft of material. But that's splitting hairs. Plagiarism is just outright theft of material.

But what if you have written a story that bears a remarkable resemblance to something already out there? When I say remarkable, I mean surreal or uncanny. A likeness that can make you uncomfortable. Because how in the Chuck Dickens could you ever explain yourself? My Planet Janitor was compared to Firefly, and I had no problem taking that it stride. I knew nothing about Firefly and it's characters until I later investigated.

Now it seems I have another, more intricate doppelganger. On three different occasions over the past years my characters in Screamcatcher, Jory Pike and Choice Daniels have been called all but dead ringers for Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. For the sake of chronology, my book was written in later days of October in 2011,  It was just recently published on 4-23-2019. It took so long to see print because my agent suggested I make a trilogy out of it. It bombed out at the Big 5, but was offered contracts by 10 small presses within a 12 month period. We took Melange Books because they were so lenient and adaptable to our contract conditions.

The first Hunger Games book was published in 2008, then another in 2009 and the last one in 2010

The third time I was told about my book's similarities to the characters in The Hunger Games was early 2018. I didn't know who Suzanne Collins was, but I had heard of the enormous success of her trilogy. I'd only heard she was a TV exec or something, and that her series was pulling second rank just under Harry Potter, or had been doing so for a long time. I decided to investigate. Curiosity drove me to it, even though I was so dang busy with my own books and editing at that time.

I read the books first, then watched the movie series on a free channel. 

It smacked me right between the eyes. The last thing I wanted was to be compared to The Hunger Games. I had an oh joy! moment. Then I had a feeling of utter dread. Not only was Katniss unbelievably close, but I'd written Peeta, and his association wtth Katness, too. 

Jory's similarities to Katniss.

Both are young teenagers, separated by a few years.
Both have Olive skin.(Jory is of Native America lineage)
Both have straight black hair (sometimes braided)
Both are graceful and surefooted.
Both are attractive 
Both are expert archers, with lightning fast reflexes
Both are unassuming and avoid the spotlight.
Both are independent, solitary but reluctant leaders.
Both have top-notch survival skills, knowledge of plants and animals
Both are avid hunters
Jory has a long bow, whereas Katniss has a high-tech composite compound bow.
Both have great intuitive senses.
Jory does have brown eyes, opposed to grey eyes and she is tall and lanky unlike the smaller Katniss

Choice and Peeta

Average height
Stocky, a bit muscular.
Same length hair, different color
Nearly same age
Loyal
Courageous 
Athletic

Attraction:

Choice's attraction to Jory is intense but very subdued. He has a hard time not showing his attraction to her, and when he does he is rather embarrassed, sometimes internally infuriated.Jory is indifferent to him, not really in-like or in love. She's not above using him to achieve gains. Her eventual commitment and love for him is a very slow romantic burn that culminates in their bond at the end of series story-line

My web world strings are called sectors, whereas in THG the state or territory divisions are called districts. Each sector has a deathly challenge--a true life or death trial before they can continue to the next sector. Likewise in THG they must advance to the next task or challenge. 

I could go on and on, because it just doesn't stop. However, there are vast differences that keep these two stories from clashing into each other. I'm floored by how well THG was crafted, both in print and in video. It was truly one of the best books and movies I have every seen. I could never measure up to such standards as Suzanne's craftsmanship. I can only say we were thinking about the same FMC and saw a place for her in her own tome. Katniss HAS to be fondly loved by Suzanne. I'm proud to have brought Jory to life. 

Has this ever happened to you, dear writer? Deja vu anyone? Could you swear that somebody else has ripped off your plot or characters? Or have you ever felt despair and felt like slashing your wrists because somebody beat you to the punch? Stephen King had a "Oh, damn it to hell!" moment when he heard the Simpsons had done a domed city story. Yet he raced on with his own story and it was well received. 

Am I going to compare my book to THG? Nope. The reviewers can do whatever they want. Besides, I like my premise BETTER. Bwahahahahahaha! 

https://christysyoungadultimagineers.com/







Thursday, May 2, 2019

Portal v.s. Urban Fantasy--It's War!

There really is no conflict between these two sub-genres. There is a difference, even if we're splitting hairs. Charles De Lint first described urban fantasy with his story Dreams Underfoot in the early 90s, making it a relatively new genre, in retrospect to the times. In short, urban fantasy brings the fantastical into the mundane world or into the contemporary setting. It's another dimension, another time and place, a different universe with it's own rules. The magical invades our world, not the other way around. That's the more precise definition. Examples might be well associated with the book,The Mortal Instruments. Writers like Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaimen, Deborah Harkness and Anita Blake's Vampire Hunter are prime examples of this sub-genre of fantasy. I think the important thing to remember is that in an urban fantasy setting, their world invades ours. Something crosses over and materializes. Sometimes this transformation happens with our knowledge, but many times it materializes unbeknownst to us. 

They say (who's they anyway?) that urban fantasy is a Mixxmaster, mashup of science fiction, horror, dark fantasy, paranormal and magic realism where they all come together in a melting pot. Fair enough. What a mongrel, wot?

Portal fantasy. It's also been termed "low" fantasy. But who in the heck uses those terms to describe their work to publishers, editors or the reading public? You don't see it do you? My agent had no idea what I was talking about when referencing my works as such. She agreed that it might be a unique way to describe a fantasy sub-genre to a potential purchaser. My publisher blinked upon hearing the term, but did admit that she'd heard before. She confessed that it was doubtful that using the term might sway any reader decisions, or for that matter, having Amazon recognize it as a mainstay genre. Amazon is lazy--they fall back on urban.

So what's a portal fantasy? It is our intrusion into another world, be it deliberately or accidentally. We'll split hairs latter, but for now, think about Neil's Stardust. Where is the gateway or the portal? Why, it's across the stone fence, isn't it? Things become fantastic, abnormal, magical on the other side. Our world has not changed, it is still a contemporary setting. The magical land did not come from Them over to our side--we explored or blundered into it--we trespassed, so to speak

Some classic examples of true portal fantasies: Harry Potter: now what is platform 9 3/4 if it is not a portal, opening or gateway into another land and realm? There are even portals within portals in Harry Potter. Some will disagree with me on that. Alice in Wonderland: don't we have a mirror or rabbit hole? There's your gateway. The Bridge to Terabithia: step across that bridge and you're in a world of make believe. Hook: Isn't it the second start on the right that opens up into a sf-ish type planet/land? The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: step through a closet and we're in Narnia. I can actually remember a Twilight Zone episode where a character marks off a section of wall to define a mysterious entrance into another world (De Lint, you might have been a little late in discovering it).Coraline: doesn't Coraline step through a secret door to enter another dimensional frontier?

How can Harry Potter split hairs on these two? Well, Harry travels back and forth from his world to Hogwarts, doesn't he? He's not a muggle, nor was he ever a muggle. He's a wizard in training. So when he comes back into his contemporary setting, he brings with him some special talents that are defined as magic. Therefore, to some degree, he impacts his real world, changing it every so slightly as his years in school progress. The Matrix could be consider a double whammy--we go in and pull things back with us. Stephen King's The Mist, is an example of our military opening up a forbidden gate (portal), and then suffering the consequences when the beast of that other world come barging in on our modern day setting.

Weird Science: We opened a dimension, and she steps through. Opposite affect here--we opened up the portal, but something came through it.

Tron: We trespassed. Portal. 

Screamcatcher: The kids sleep under a decrepit, malicious dream catcher, and it implodes, pulling them into IT's world. It appears at first that their real world has turned into something strange and dangerous. However, it's not really their world--it's a separate entity upon itself. The rules of the world are governed by the Web and what it contains within it. 

Kind of fun exploring these things. No harm done. No segregation. But I'm going to describe my trilogy as portal fantasies. Just you wait for the last book in the series called The Shimmering Eye. It was based on the true life scientific investigations of the Skinwalker Ranch, as reported by George Knapp, investigative reporter out of Las Vegas. I'll need a new genre for it!

Red-shifting. 




Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Show Me the Money


The Difficulty in Authorship Today. It's a reality.


In my personal opinion, writing the story, editing it and teaming with an agent are the easiest parts of the whole authorship adventure for me. Selling to a publisher, whether it is from myself or my agent is difficult, yes, but the tension and frustration really mounts with the sheer amount of promotion and marketing that must be employed to sell even a few copies or gain any reviews. We have a serious glut in the number of books and stories being published each year now, ranging into the millions. 

The competition is more fierce than ever. Self-publishing has allowed any and all persons from all over the world to write and publish just about anything and call it a book (this is discounting the real indie authors who have great books and stories to share). 


Unless you are published by one of the Big 5 corporations and one of their imprints, which has vast distributorship capability, you will be lost in a sea of written words. Trying to brand your author’s name today is very difficult and time-consuming, unless you have a breakout best-seller or already have name-brand celebrity recognition and status. It seems all of us have experimented with ads, whether they are banner ads, AMS or booster ads from Face Book and Twitter. Most of these ads are a total bust and do nothing but flood the marketplace with similar ads by authors who have the same desires to showcase their literary merit. It’s nearly impossible to know which ads bear fruit unless an active spreadsheet is maintained to watch orders and sales rank. The key word is "customize" the ad for your specific book. Get your audience right.


Advertisement expenditures can be very costly and disappointing to the uninitiated. Then there are the high dollar ad campaigns that profess to give profitable returns on their investments. BookBub is just one of them, but then again, thorough research is needed to know how to apply that type of ad to reach your target audience. In addition, you must be accepted by BookBub after you register, and you need to explore all of the cost options. Some of the ads can be very expensive. But when your BookBub ad is right, It's really right and shows return on your investment. You can read the testimonials.


WHAT’S ON THE BRIGHT SIDE?


Her is a partial summation of a blog where I talk about promotion. Some is pretty basic and old hat, but it still works.


 A lot of authors reach customers via their website. This is a rather generic article that might encompass other products, but a well designed website does well for books, poetry and short stories that you might have listed on retail sites. 



A website is a wonderful tool to reach the masses whether you are selling products and services, books, or programs. It's almost a given for any serious author and many publishers ask writers if they have a current website, or even a blog that will afford promotion space. Increased website traffic translates to more readership, visitors and ultimately, income. Once you have a website designed and active and you’ve established that you have a viable product or service to sell, it is important to draw as many potential customers and readers to your home base website. Here are some ideas on how to promote your website and draw that much needed attention.



First and foremost, you need to link your website URL to any and all sources on the Internet that you frequent (search engines). If you belong to a group such as Readers Forum, any display sites, several blog sites or other relative websites pertinent to your product or service, you should list your URL in any signature line or profile page provided. When you comment or guest-write a blog or article, your link will take potential customers and readers to your website. This works well if you are an authority on your subject and your interaction piques curiosity. You might have a website that is genre specific, such as Young Adult, science fiction or fantasy. 



Offering something of value free gratis on your site is an excellent way to attract visitors. This could be free excerpts, short stories or entire novels, and you can lay out stipulations for acquiring the freebie. You may offer a free non-fiction tutorial or eBook that has valuable information. Small contests work well where you pose questions or offer free merchandise to a limited number of first responders. You can post questions that have to do with characters or plot points in one of your books and reward for the correct answers.



 Offering discount days also works for drawing attention and you can announce these discount days via FaceBook, Twitter or on a separate blog. Write a small blurb in any website group that features a thread on “latest news” or “goals and accomplishments.” Radio, newspaper and cable TV sources are always on the hunt for local human interest stories and articles—this is a terrific way to reach the masses, especially if your website is new and in need of traffic. You may also convince other websites to give away your freebies, in essence, using their traffic and membership to widen your exposure.



Using “pay for rank” search engines is an economical way to get targeted customers that share your subject matter. Visitors obtained in this matter may cost as little as 10 cents apiece, but the traffic jump may result in the thousands of visitors to your site. Ezine advertising works the same way—you pay a small upfront fee to advertise in numerous ezines that may result in hundreds of thousands of prospective clients and customers. Unlike paper magazine and newspaper advertising, ezine ads are longer lasting and able to reach the masses instantly. You may also publish your own ezine or newsletter that offers a membership. If you have a number of titles, especially in a series, you can create your own little book club. This will bring repeat customers back to your website via embedded email notices, especially if you are adding new information or making announcements.



You may try “joint venturing” where you team up with several competitors or persons in related book and reader groups and agree to cross promote or list your URL on their sites. Joint venturing can go nearly viral if there are dozens or hundreds of similar websites that offer the same products and services you are promoting.  

My new website, Christy's Young Adult Fabuliers: (Note that it is under construction and needs work)

https://christysyoungadultimagineers.com/2019/03/19/screamcatcher-web-world/

Friday, March 22, 2019

Christy J Breedlove's Young Adult Fabuliers

christybreedlove (Photo credit--Doutzen Kroes from askmystyle.wordpress.com)

 Published by christybreedlove--You can check out my new (under triage) website below:

I'm from the west coast of California, born and raised on the beaches of Redondo, Venice, Huntington, Sunset and Seal Beach. I learned to surf at an early age, using the hulking long-board, but then settling on the sleek California Creative design. Where I came from, salt was thick in the air and the seagulls scribbled graceful lines in the sky. I learned to fish and captain my own boat, and sailed on many wondrous adventures. The sea is my true mate and lover. 
 
. I became a star gazer and bought my own large telescope, enjoying numerous star parties. Betcha don't know what a star party is, do you? Guess what...I found the second star on the right, but that's my secret to keep. 

I became a story teller. I'm a diehard frantic creator of Young Adult fiction, whether it's paranormal, science fiction, suspense or fantasy. I believe in pure escapism with unceasing action adventure and discovery. If you want a moral message or cultural statement, you're apt to get a small one. But let me tell you something, honey, I'm here to make you laugh until you gag, cry until you're comatose and tear out tufts of your hair. 

Today, young adult lit needs a resurrection. How soon we've forgotten about Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight. Oh, the mania! Where has it gone? Are we losing our young readers? We need something really fresh and new. I and several writers are going to pour everything we have into that end. You are the kindly judge--help us get there and we will deliver!



Screamcatcher; Web World–COMING SOON!--Compliments of Melange Press, Fire & Ice!

It’s a Little Taste Of What’s coming Up. There’s a Storm Brewing…It’s Going To Hurl You Off Your Feet And Twist You Into A knot. You Best Name Your Beneficiary Now. You’ll Be Toast.
            When seventeen-year-old Jory Pike cannot shake the hellish nightmares of her parent’s death, she turns to an old family heirloom, a dream catcher. Even though she’s half blood Chippewa, Jory thinks old Indian lore is so yesterday, but she’s willing to give it a try. However, the dream catcher has had its fill of nightmares from an ancient and violent past.  After a sleepover party and during one of Jory’s most horrific dream episodes, the dream catcher explodes, sucking Jory and her three friends into its own world of trapped nightmares—a place where there’s no color or electricity, the houses are derelict, and the streets are filled with murderers and thieves.








 
https://christysyoungadultimagineers.com/2019/03/19/screamcatcher-web-world/
 
The Web World IS Not For Humans–Sometimes Dreamcatchers Can’t Hold Anymore
            They are now trapped in the web world, where every nightmare and evil spirit has been kept in quarantine, and these spirit beasts will stop at nothing to halt Jory and her friend’s passage through the realm.  Jory leads her friends through the web maze, following the clues of her ancestors.  She’ll have to decipher the strange footprints, path markers, and a mysterious riddle.  It all leads to the burning light that sears a hole through the middle of the earth.  But is that the tunnel of light where people really go when they die?  Or is it the Indian light of salvation—the circle of life—the hole in the web?  She soon discovers that she is the key and that none of her friends can escape this upside-down world unless she summons the courage to make the first step.



 



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Who Is Eating Its Authors?


I wish somebody would tell me what the heck is going on! Is Amazon going cannibal, eating its own young?

After watching this industry for 29 years, I think I've reached my saturation point. 

Read this HuffPost article, written by no less than Mark Coker (Smashwords CEO and indie author). Anyway you look at this, to me it spells doom

2018 Book Publishing Predictions--Are Indie Authors Losing Their Independence?

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/2018-book-publishing-predictions-are-indie-authors_us_5a4a88e0e4b0d86c803c78ab

In addition to this dire warning/prediction, tell me why, oh why, have sales and reviews dropped off almost completely for small/independent presses and self-published authors. I'm seeing this all across the board. I have not seen such a dramatic halt for reviews and sales, but I can say this: When you put a minimum dollar requirement of $50 per year for reviewers (who wish to enhance the resources of the written word), you are certainly going to cut out a vast amount of readers and fans.

And what is this cursed algorithm that ferrets out family, relatives and friends from reviewing your book? Is this all in the name of halting fake reviews and page number reads, as Amazon explains?

No one dares speak ill of Amazon's treatment for fear of a giant ax coming down on them. Anyone can be pulled from their pages, ruthlessly and efficiently. That is exactly what happens when a corporation gets too big and powerful.

Do you know why Amazon is producing brick-and-mortar bookstores across the nation? To date, they have 19 operational. Do you know what this means? Do you understand what product lock-in can do to the consumer populace?


I'm not a doom-peddler or naysayer. I'm well aware of the better points of Amazon as it pertains to indie publishing. I know all about leveling the playing field and ousting the gate keepers. Fair is fair, yes. I represent Guerrilla Warfare For Writers. I warn, and fight for the rights of authors everywhere. We are the producers--we MUST take control and demand justifiable resolutions. Without us the literary world is a wasteland.

Chime In! Tell me what you think. What are your experiences with recent sales and reviews of your books and stories.

I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors. Never be afraid to stand up face to face with your nemesis and present your grievances.

The Warrior--Red Shifting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Pen Names: I'm Not Who You Think I Am.


I've agonized over using a pen name. Call it what you will—pseudonym, non de plume. I didn't really specialize in a genre. This has been going on longer than I’d like to admit. One look at my Amazon page will bear this out in a most dramatic fashion. I’d used a shotgun approach to see what genre got the best reaction sales wise. This late in the game, I've decided to use a pen name for my YA series. My small press sales from just about all my publishers have been small to mediocre at best. The older the book, the higher in the millions your rank can get. You might start off as an Amazon best-seller and stay there for weeks, but if you slide and slow down in sales it will show. You have to sell to even stabilize your rank spot. But enough about ranks, which aren’t the end all of your success.


The problem with writing in so many genres with the same author name will confuse your fan base. That’s if you’ve developed a readership in the first place. Your readers can trust your YA SF, but will any of them make the leap to your erotic romance? Using multiple genres can spread you too thin, carving into your sales and decimating a fan base. The same goes for fiction versus nonfiction. Are you an entertainer at heart or are you a social commentator, historian or instructor? I think it’s okay to experiment in the early stages, but it’s in your best interests to make a decision on how you visualized your career. Both J.K. Rowling and Stephen King used pennames, albeit for different reasons because they didn’t want to get overly familiar with using their very popular names for every book they conceived.


What about gender neutral names? Joanne Rowling used the initials J.K. in front of her last name to disguise the fact that she was a she. Her agent had told her that boys were reluctant to read female authors, which was/is particularly true of SF, fantasy, action/adventure and really anything meant for the YA and MG crowd. Likewise, there are a limited number of females who might openly admit to never reading male authors who have scribed romances, most prominently sweet romances where true emotions and depth of feeling is needed. A male author would certainly have a little more trouble than a woman when penning a Sweet Valley High. There are exceptions, of course, where it doesn’t matter what gender is responsible for the work. In Jo Rowling’s case, she was a debut author, so she carried that moniker until she switched to adult novels. She wanted to draw a distinction between her teen books and something meant for an older crowd.     


I've always wondered what the big house publishers thought of my track record when they gave it a glance. So yes, I'm going with a pen name with a certain genre, and to start a new little writer off, even though that writer will be easily identified as me. Notwithstanding, I'm going to do everything in my power to disguise my identity. It can be done, at least for awhile. I really do need a fresh start since I have such a fruit salad of genres and categories. 

If you are making this decision in the relative early stage in your writing career, then you have the jump on it and I think it might be a good idea. There certainly is a definitive difference between comedy and horror or YA and erotica. Don't make the mistake I made. It sounds like you have to insert yourself into an inescapable niche—not to worry. What you are really doing is specializing, branding yourself for easy recognition. You don’t want to confound or confuse. You want to make finding and selecting you and your books as trouble free as possible.


Why do you suppose that the font type of an author name is larger on a book cover written by an A-list celebrity than it is with a midlist author? If you are a die-hard reader of Stephen King, that name will jump right out at you. It’s called name branding. That’s where you want to be.


Red-shifting….