Thursday, April 18, 2013

Running Pen Names: I just don't know who I am anymore.

by the Evil Dr. Emile Schmitt-Rottluff

Pen names are fascinating. They are all unique individuals, and seem to acquire their own voices very quickly. They have separate constituencies. Each audience is unique. Trying to think in those terms is challenging and insightful. (What sort of thing would that person say? What sort of book would that sort of reader like to read?) It takes up 'x' amount of time just developing their platform, and of course I have to write all their material for them.

Besides the Shalako Publishing imprint, I’m also running three pen names. Simple things like signing out of one Twitter account and signing into the proper one when following up new followers with another pen name aren’t hard to figure out.

When I open up Astor Fondue’s e-mail account and click on a link, it takes me right to Twitter.

It’s not immediately obvious who I’m signed in as on Twitter—I have to click on the little carat beside the gear symbol and see who I am. If I’m signed in as Svetlana Getonanov, then Astor wouldn’t be following back at all. Svetlana would be following back Astor’s new followers.

@louisbshalako has about 6,700 followers. But I have three accounts. I have @ShalakoBooks and @hyperlouis. When people are following people in their interest group, I have three chances to snag them as they’re going by, based on the weight of my numbers—those other accounts might have less than 2,000 followers, and in fact I’m tweeting identical content. That’s easy enough to maintain when setting out, although I could take any account and go on a big list-building campaign. I could easily target a new audience with any account. Let’s say pen name Ivan P. Krumholtz gets fifteen new followers. I can sign into any account and follow them back, say if @louisbshalako is building his list that day. Ivan has maybe sixteen hundred followers right now. The other couple of accounts are really only up to maybe 2-300 followers on Twitter.

They all have a separate e-mail address, or they couldn’t sign up for Facebook. They all get Facebook notifications by e-mail. I’m going to turn that off. I can confirm friend requests and like things directly from Facebook. In terms of network security, they have different passwords.

A hacker might knock out one account, but he won’t get my whole network all at once. Most hacks are either someone you know or your phone or laptop was misplaced or stolen. No one really cares about me anyway. I figure I’m pretty good there.

With an account like Smashwords, when pinning to Pinterest, or posting on Reddit, it’s always going to be posted by the default account; i.e. the one listed under the important payee information; either that, or the one you are presently signed into on Pinterest. I’ll try and analyze that further. Since all my pen names have the same payee information, you have to copy the link and go directly to Pinterest to post that under the proper pen name. Only one of my pen names is on Pinterest. None are on Stumbleupon, Goodreads, Kindleboards, etc. All of them are on Facebook. One of them is on LinkedIn. It takes time to build these names up. This is a long-term project.

Two pen names are male and one is female. It’s interesting to try and project some sort of personality through what are essentially characters into a social network. It’s challenging, but I’ve learned a lot too.

Men are easily fooled by a pretty face. Women don’t respond to the erotica ostensibly written by a member of their own sex. My approach and presentation are all wrong for that to work. I thought the big abs would do it, right? But they want to see a woman on there too, and some sort of romantic background images. She must be in expensive underwear—this is my gut instinct. And men don’t buy erotica—they just go off and look at porn pictures on someone else’s website, in other words not my website.

Men find the pen-name character fascinating, especially guys from eastern cultures. A sexually-liberated woman, and a good looking one, one is who accessible, is a rare find. They’re hitting on her, mostly nicely, which brings certain insights to this male writer.

The ones that don’t hit on her are quickly forgotten and relegated to the bottom of the list. Interesting glimpse into the female mind, and probably all human minds there, boys and girls. It’s a glimpse into the minds of my fellow males, because it’s quickly become obvious that I’m a little too shy with the ladies. I’m nowhere near forwards enough.

Most of them are pretty nice guys, really, they’re just a bit lonely and really don’t have much to lose by it. It was an interesting thought process that went through my head the first few times some guy opened up the chat box on me…

It struck me just how much of a pain in the butt real beauty must be sometimes. It would take some maturity and some experience in letting the poor fellows down nicely, with a little compassion, and trying to handle things in a nice way—although I’m tempted to send them a free ebook and ask for a five-star review. I reckon quite of few of them would do it, as there is a sucker born every minute according to one well-known source.

Sure glad I ain’t one of them.

Editor's Note: Dr. Schmitt-Rottluff is a regular contributor to this blog and also appears in a starring role in, 'On the Nature of the Gods.'

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