Which name to use?

  • Posted on: 8 May 2012
  • By: MeiLin

I've written an absolutely ridiculous bit of froth, a traditionally structured erotic romance that is nothing like what I usually write. I got the plot idea, these things are quick to write, I'm always trying to get stuff out there making money for me, this is a business.

Thing is, it's totally different from my usual thing. You know, angst, awkward sex: that thing.

If I publish it as MeiLin, am I going to confuse people on both ends of the transaction--old readers thinking WTF? and new readers picking up, say, the History and thinking WTF? Or what?

My second pen name is Aria Afton, which I think is hilarious. I love it like I love the cover to "The Amber Cross" (which I wish I could have put out as an Aria Afton book but it was already out under MeiLin when I published it at Circlet Press).

What say you?


erinnstreeter's picture


As a singer of arias, I support the use of Aria Afton. :whistle:

That being said, I've always been a little confused by the use of multiple pen names. Do they really help sales? I would think knowing that knowing it's your book (by seeing a pen name I'm already accustomed to seeing) would encourage me to buy your other books, regardless of genre/content. But I'm not a book marketer, so - don't lean your decision too much on my opinion, here.

Kreyopresny's picture


...if you publish it under a seperate pen name, then readers who like it, will only be able to find other work published under the AA name, and MM readers who miss this post won't find the AA work. (Unless they happen notice that it's made from names of History characters)

M.K. Hobson's picture

I was reading Catherynne Valente's post about not thinking kids are stupid, or whatever, and I was struck by how she's achieved such popularity as a mid-grade writer, and what that means for her other, more adult books. Are her new, young fans trying to read them and getting stymied? Is there confusion & consternation? I'm guessing not really. Personally, I would come down on the side of consistency, keeping everything under one name.

There are other ways to indicate subbranding. "Coke" doesn't stop calling itself "Coke" because it's diet, or lime-flavored, or whatnot. Maybe you could come up with lines for your own work, like Harlequin does. That way readers would know it's still you, just writing in a different "line"

V's picture


I think there's value in consolidating, not fragmenting your market. If you emphasize your publisher, that might be sufficient, but personally I key far more on an author name. If there's any way you could keep that I'd encourage it. I'm not familiar with what Harlequin does, but I think of the way some properties are managed like the Dune universe, or Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six. Could you do similar with MeiLin Miranda's (fluffy stuff...uhm, how to put a better spin on it?)

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I like this idea a lot, actually (thanks, M.K.!) and now I'm trying to think of a good "line." I was even thinking Aria Afton Presents, even though no one knows who Aria Afton is! Biggrin I'll think of something.

Gudy's picture


... of "Aria Afton Presents". Heck, if you feel like it, see if you can't have Ms. Afton actually present the books in her line by putting in a silly little introduction to each, starting with The Amber Cross. Biggrin

I'd certainly think you should publish it as MeiLin Miranda in any case. Sure, it's different from the History - it's light, fluffy erotic romance. So? The Gulch is silly, fluffy Steam Punk/Magic/Wild West and in some sense even more removed from the History than this.

Besides, I never got the whole "one pen name for each genre" thing. Sure, I mean, if one of your lines of work is hardcore erotica I can see why you would have that be separate lest prudish sellers refuse to stock anything with your name on it. But other than that? Also, the History already defies classification, so why not own that and extend it to your complete works?

Justine Graykin's picture

While I understand the logic of publishing different works under different names, I think the general thread is right, and you shouldn't be afraid of diversifying. Don't hide it under a different name. Even if a reader picks it up and says WTF? the point is, they picked it up.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I've decided to brand my romance-ish works "Aria Afton Presents." I KNOW ARIA AND MEI ARE THE SAME PERSON THAT MAKES IT FUNNIER! Biggrin I'll be rebranding the cover of "The Amber Cross" to reflect this. Thanks, guys!

Zandu Ink's picture


No, there is too much. Let me sum up...

So, romance stories will be "Aria Afton presents (book title) by MeiLin Miranda"?

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Well, there will be a branding graphic on the cover that says "Aria Afton Presents" and at Amazon it will follow the title in parentheses and they will be considered part of a series even though they're not the same "universe." At least the two I've written aren't. To wit:

The Amber Cross (Aria Afton Presents)
The Mage's Toy (Aria Afton Presents)

Aria Afton Presents...The Amber Cross by MeiLin Miranda
Aria Afton Presents...The Mage's Toy by MeiLin Miranda

and so on.

Tigger's picture


You got in a PB quote! Yay! Made my night. Biggrin

Capriox's picture


seconded. Biggrin

And I think the Aria Afton presents as a "line" makes sense as you explained it. Glad it's all under one author name, like V said, that's what I key in on most.

Terri Bruce's picture

LOL - that is funny! I understand arguments on both sides of the different names for different business lines/genres, etc. I've noticed most literary fic authors don't do this - Mary Doria Russell (literary sci fi and now a historical fiction (about Doc Holliday), Lisa See (contemporary women's fic and then some historical fiction), etc. - do I buy every book they write? Nope. Do I check out their new releases though to see if I'd like each one. Yup. Whereas, if I didn't know Norah Roberts was...J.D. Robb (?) then how could I check out her stuff to see if I wanted to follow her across genres?


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