April 21, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger AJ Nuest


To Pseudonym or Not To Pseudonym, That is The Question…

While recently perusing my most cherished writer’s loop, I came upon an email from another author that stated how some publishers – namely inspirational publishers – require their authors to use a pseudonym. Fairly new to the world of publishing, this fascinating little piece of information left me baffled. Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand and respect each author’s decision to use a pseudonym. If one writes across genre lines, especially in both the children’s and erotic markets, I can see how using a pseudonym makes sense. But to have a publisher require it in order to publish a manuscript? To base their decision on what the author has previously published rather than the strength of the current work? That just sorta stuck in my craw.

I was born Amy Jo Steiger. Up until I turned eighteen, I was called Amy, Amer by close friends, and Ver by my family (long story, my father is the King of Nicknamelandia, but I digress). After graduating high school I went to college and most of my friends called me Amy Jo (spoken with a southern twang) because they thought it was quaint. Others, though, had a hard time remembering this moniker, and after a few months of being introduced as Mary Sue, Bobbie Jo, and Peggy Ann, I finally took charge of my own name and introduced myself as AJ (easier to remember, especially after all those Kamikaze’s). Ten years into being AJ Steiger, I met a handsome young man by the name of Scott Nuest, and the rest, as they say, is history.

After all this, I think I’ve earned the right to bear my name. Whatever genre I choose to write (and I write many), I put my entire heart and soul into the story. To then have a publisher tell me I need to make up a name for the cover sorta irks me. What about you? Am I being too stubborn? What’s your whole stance on the pseudonym issue?




JEZEBEL'S WISH
by AJ Nuest
Available at The Wild Rose Press
Amazon.Com


Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past—except now she's stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he’s completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons.

Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can't she?



Jezzy stopped. “I thought I was having a riding lesson.”

“You are.” He nodded toward the empty paddock. “Go in.”

“Go in?” Jezzy propped a hand on her hip. “You sure you know what you’re doing? Because it was my understanding that an actual horse is needed for a riding lesson.”

“Don’t you think it would be wise at this juncture to leave the understanding up to the professionals?”

Jezzy rolled her eyes. “You’re making this way too easy. Professionals? Please. Don’t get me started.”

“Why not? Getting you started is exactly what I’m here for.”

Jezzy’s jaw dropped. She didn’t quite know how to interpret that remark.

He held out the rope. “Now go in. And take this lead line with you.” Steely blue determination glinted in his eyes. There was no way he was going to give in.

Jezzy snatched the lead line from his hand and stormed through the gate, then turned when he closed it behind her.

He put a foot on the bottom railing and rested against the gate, facing the horizon. “Take the chair to the center of the paddock and sit down.”

“And just exactly how is that supposed to teach me to ride?”

He cocked an eyebrow. “You want out of the deal?”

Jezzy’s fist clenched tight around the lead line. What she wanted was to march back to the fence and smack his face.



AJ Nuest lives in northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the author of two contemporary romance novels.


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28 comments:

Sarah Grimm said...

AJ-

So excited to have you with me today! I wouldn't want to be forced to use a pseudonym. That said, I do use a pseudonym. Sort of.

I use my maiden name. After all, it was Sarah Grimm who dreamed of growing up and becoming a published author, so it only seemed natural that when I received my first contract, and achieved that dream, that Sarah Grimm's name went on the cover.

Can't wait for things to slow down around here so I can read Jezebel's Wish!

~Sarah

Jennifer Jakes said...

I use a pseudonym because no one - no one! - ever pronounces my last name correctly. Actually it's my husband's last name, but I
digress. . . HA HA
So I wanted something that readers could remember and pronounce. And spell!
Fun topic! Thanks, ladies :)

DarleneLF said...

That's really low for a publisher to force their authors to use a pseudonym. It should be author's choice. It took me 10 years to get published, I deserve to use my real name, lol!
Congrats on Jezebel, AJ!

Kat Duncan said...

I tried out a few pen names, but they didn't seem to fit me as nicely as my own name. I doubt I'd accept an offer for publication if I couldn't use my real name. They're my words and my stories, so I want my name attached to them. I think AJ Nuest is a cool name and of course, Grimm has an outstanding history of famous tales! :)

P.L. Parker said...

I use a sort of pseudonym, P.L. Parker is actually Patsy Lynn Parker, my maiden name. My married name is Buker.....

Book sounds great! Good luck!

Lynda Bailey said...

AJ~
You definitely deserve to use your own name. For me, I didn't want to be pubbed under my real name, but choosing a pseudonym wasn't anything exciting. It boiled down to what domain name was still available.

Jan said...

AJ, I use a shortened version of my name, which is Janice Romes. Never had been fond of Janice. So I go with Jan, instead. Right now I write contemporary so going with Jan is fine. Should I decide to steam things up, I'd probably choose a pen name to hide behind...lol.

AJ Nuest said...

@Jennifer Jakes
Jennifer, I so, so hear you about the last name. Do YOU know how to say Nuest? No one does. I get a lot of Nu-est, Nest, Nust, etc. etc. The correct pronunciation, according to Grandpa, is Noost. But other than the folks in my little town of Kouts (also frequently mispronounced) no one knows how to say it.

AJ Nuest said...

@DarleneLF You know I agree, Darlene! Although AJ Nuest is kinda a pseudonym anyway, because no one from high school knows who that person is!

AJ Nuest said...

@Kat Duncan LOL! That's for sure, Kat. Sarah's brilliant to use that last name. I've struggled over whether or not to make this subject an issue - after all, passing up publication based strictly on the usage of a pseudonym is a tough call. In the end, though, I think I would agree with you. My words - my name.

AJ Nuest said...

@P.L. Parker Patsy, AJ is sorta a pseudonym too, just because I started going by AJ in college, so no one in my home town knows who that is. At our last family function, one of my cousins asked me, "Who's AJ Nuest?" I replied, "She's a famous author, didn't you know?" *wink*

AJ Nuest said...

@Lynda Bailey Lynda, you crack me up. I know that can be an issue, though. Luckily, Nuest is unusual enough I didn't have that trouble. Couse, it DOES make it harder to find me on the internet - correct spelling of the name and all.

AJ Nuest said...

@Jan Thanks for stopping by, Jan. I usually check with my Mom before deciding. If she's okay with the steam level, then I'm going with AJ Nuest!

Anonymous said...

Oooo...and I think I opened this can of worms. Though I have not been *told* by a publisher to use a different name for my secular works versus my Inspirational stories (mainly because I don't have a publisher for my inspies--but that's beside the point) I was told by a fellow writer of inspirational romances that it would be a very good idea. So when I contracted Brodie's Bride with TWRP (shameless plug) I decided to go with a pen name. My real name is Amy, though I decided to change the spelling. Why...dunno. But Louellen is something I have been called my entire life. As I was trying to come up with a name...I toyed around with my maiden name--Davis. Not memorable--and all I kept hearing was my mama's voice saying Amy Louellen. Just for the record, my middle name is Patricia. But moms will be moms, and Amie Louellen was "born". I decided to use my pen name for my secular stories, because they are rom-coms and the pen name fit those better. Anyway, I don't mind the choice I made. Been kicking around an idea for a big kids story--kinda like Diary of a Wimpy kid. And I may end up with 3 personalities. That sounds about right. We all know writers are crazy anyway! Great post~

AJ Nuest said...

@Anonymous Oh, Amie, you CRACK ME UP! And good point, too. Writers ARE crazy (at least, I'M crazy, based on several reliable sources), and we have so many darn people in our heads. Maybe that's why most of us use a "second personality" for our books. Hmmm...interesting thought. Any psych majors out there wanna chime in?

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi AJ! Thanks for the fun post, and I love your picture.

I was encouraged (they didn't want to use my real name) to take a pseudonym. I was told to think of something with "timeless, International appeal" ha ha - Apparently Lynne Marshall worked for Harlequin Mills & Boon and Lynne is my middle name. I'm beginning to answer when people call me Lynne. : )

wlynnchantale said...

Great Post AJ,

I use a a pseudonym. First and foremost, because I'm a pastor's wife. Second, I really don't like my name and third, because I'm branching out across the genres. I know eventually someone will put two and two together, but I'll jump that hurdle when I reach it.
However I had decided to write under my real name for inspirational, now I"m not so sure.

Alison H. said...

Hi AJ, Congrats and good luck on Jezebel's Wish! I've been pondering the whole pseudonym issue for a while, too. For my TWRP Western historicals, I've used my real name. I figured, why not? I might never sell anything else. But my current WIP's are humorous contemporary romantic suspense, so it might make sense to use a different name for them. However, it's not like I'm Nora Roberts or anything, so I'm not sure it really makes any difference.

AJ Nuest said...

@Lynne Marshall Hi Lynne, this was the first time I'd heard of a publisher "encouraging" an author to use a pseudonym, and I guess it just sorta surprised me. I have an inspy in the works, but I don't think I'll go with a pseudonym if it gets accepted. In fact, I'm quite sure of it. I want people to know I wrote it. It's important to me. Very interesting...

AJ Nuest said...

@wlynnchantale Hi Telly! That I can totally understand. Being a pastor's wife, I can see how YOU would choose to write under a different name. But to be told you HAVE to? I think it should be the author's choice.

Emma Lai said...

I use a pseudonym because of the across genre thing. However, I was asked if I wanted to create a new pen name for my erotica, which I declined to do because who needs one more pen name to keep track of? :) However, I do also write under my real name, and all my pen names are somehow related to my real name, but sometimes I wish I could just be me...

Sarah Grimm said...

@AJ Nuest Brilliant is a stretch, trust me. It's the name I was born with, honest.

BTW, I believe I'm actually related to those famous brothers. I'll have to ask my father, he's the geneology guy in the family. Traced the Grimm family all the way back to a part of Germany that wasn't Germany at the time. LOL

~Sarah

AJ Nuest said...

@Emma Lai Hi Emma! Living in a small town, trust me, I've often been tempted by the pseudonym. But I love book signings. I love kicking back, talking about writing with other aspiring authors. I think if I used a pseudonym, people in town would find out the truth pretty quick anyway (I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut). So I figured in the long run, I might as well just be AJ Nuest. Thanks for stopping by!

AJ Nuest said...

Sarah, that is SUPER cool! What a caveat to add to your writing! You must let us know how that works out. Thank you so much for hosting me today. Having a great convo! Woot!

Sue Palmer Fineman said...

When my first book came out in 2006 I used my maiden name - Sue Palmer - and my husband was insulted that I didn't use his name. So, no more aliases for me. I write under the name people know me by - Sue Fineman.

AJ Nuest said...

@Sue Palmer Fineman Oh, my gosh, Sue, that is too funny! I never even asked my dh. Maybe I should! LOL

Sandra Koehler said...

When I first started writing, I thought you had to use a pseudonym, so I concocted one. I'm not sure where it came from, but I thought it sounded romance author-like. A friend reminded me we had a company called "Allis-Chalmers" in Milwaukee and maybe that's how I thought of it. I don't know, but I became Alison Chambers.

Alison Chambers

Lynne Marshall said...

@AJ Nuest
AJ - It was more than encouraged. They flat out didn't want my first name - Janet. I think it sounded too American and to dated for them? Not sure - but...
With Inspirationals, if an author has written other books with love scenes in them - Harlequin will ask you to change your name. Don't know if that's who your targeting or not.