Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Different names for fiction and nonfiction

You might have noticed that the short story cover I posted in my last post doesn't have my name on it. I've decided to use a pen name for my fiction. I've spoken with several authors who do both fiction and nonfiction and they all recommended this. The reason is that fiction is expected to sell more copies than nonfiction, and distributors will look at your previous sales to determine whether they will carry your book. If one of my nonfiction titles sold 5,000 copies, a good amount for a nonfiction history, that's only mediocre for a novel and the distributor might pass it by.

So my fictional name will be Sean J. Lachlan. The "J", of course, stands for my son Julian! And I simply dropped the "Mc" t0 make it different. I'm not really attached to my last name anyway.

Of course, distributors know that writers do this, but that doesn't bother them. In fact, they won't care if I mention my real name in the "About the Author" section. All they care about is the numbers on their computer screen. Yes, the publishing world is a strange place.

1 comment:

irishoma said...

Hi Sean,
Your book sounds interesting, and your rationale for using different names for fiction and non-fiction makes sense.
Good luck with the book!
Donna Volkenannt

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.