...remain constant, digital age or not. Privacy/anonymity is a common motivator and should be respected more than it currently is. Sometimes the consequences of publishing personal information are too great and without the ability to share those stories incognito, valuable first-hand experiences will go untold. This is especially true for non-fiction, but can also occur in fiction if authors draw heavily from personal experience or from the lives of those close to them.
Then there's straight out not wanting the recognition - that's a huge deal for me. I've been writing under pseudonyms forever, sometimes due to the nature of the content, but mostly because I simply can't bear to see my name in print. I have five solid writing 'identities'; three of them I've used for over ten years. It means I often can't point people in the direction of my work for fear of blowing my cover, but that's a small price to pay for my privacy.
When it comes to genre separation, I think pen names are becoming more important than ever. Have you tried Googling your internet handle? Every conversation you've ever had online appears before you. Along with using various internet forums and social media, I've been a sex columnist, contributed to medical journals, authored Government submissions, written horror and 'slasher porn' (erotic horror) fiction...the list goes on. I've also written two children's novels. Imagine if those children's books were published and tech-savvy kids searched for me online?! In the good old days, they would have been none the wiser. These days, a children's author needs to either use pseuodonyms or stay the hell off the internet.
It's much easier to be 'outed' now and, yes, it's hard work to maintain multiple identities. But I do think the effort is worth it, especially if you're intending to publish wildly diverse material. Alternatively, if you'd prefer to use only one name and create a recognisable 'brand', my advice would be to be very, very careful with what you say and do online.
[flickr-photo:id=4730034487,size=m] ~S&N Bouncer and Official Hitwoman for the Gutter Sistren~
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