July 24, 2013

Embracing a New Identity or Not

By Sherrie Giddens and JP  Kline 

How many writers want to start over? Embracing a new identity may not be as difficult as you think.

After publishing several children's books and branding myself as a family friendly author, I wandered down the path of YA fantasy. Writing in this genre presents a challenge to the brand I have built. My first story, Valgrid, brings the reader face to face with a massive loss of life. It isn't something that I can, in good conscience, offer side by side with the titles I have written for preschoolers and early elementary school children.

I had to develop a persona under which I could publish my new work. After several months of research, I settled on JP Kline as the pen name. Although I have shared this pen name with a few friends and family, I encourage it to have its own life outside of my personal life. I find that I give myself more creative freedom when I write anonymously than I do when using my own name.

I made the decision to use a personal page on Facebook, JP Kline Author, rather than a business or fan page. This helps me avoid the fee for promoting and allows me to connect with readers on a more personal basis. It also eliminates the constant reminder for fans to like and share my posts. Readers can send a friend request or subscribe and I have the ability to connect with individuals by sending friend requests as well.

After setting up JP Kline's Facebook page, it was time to start networking. She began hanging out on pages frequented by authors writing in similar genres. JP was on a mission; she "liked" several pages and made daily friend requests. A link to the new Facebook page was placed inside the eBook version of Valgrid. Within a few days of publishing, friend requests started coming in. It is a good feeling to know that JP Kline is alive and doing fine.

Next, was to set up a new Twitter Account, JPKlineauthor. Connecting on Twitter does not come naturally for me. However, JP Kline is jumping in with both feet and beginning to see some followers.

Visiting my author's page at Amazon has been almost painful. Valgrid sits alone, waiting for the second book in the series to join it. It is a lonely looking page and it may give readers the impression that JP Kline is new to writing, if they only knew. However, I know that in time it will be sporting several titles and starting over will have been worth the effort. I will continue to write under my real name while JP Kline enjoys the gift of anonymity.

Starting over may make you feel a little queasy. However, I think JP Kline would say there are times when it is necessary. Embracing a new identity has made me a better writer. What would it do for you?

This post was written during a time when, as any entrepreneur introducing a new service, I was enthusiastically embracing the challenge of integrating a pen name into my writing and publishing business. However, as can often happen, JP Kline (my pen name) came face to face with Sherrie Giddens (me) and was struck down by the reality of the situation.

After several months of dividing my time in writing, marketing, and editing, I finally had to admit that it was not working. My reasons for choosing a pen name were still valid, but the ability to maintain both writing personas in a professional manner and do so in a way that allowed each to grow to their full potential, was lacking to say the least.

Over the last several weeks, I have been in the process of rewriting any scenes that would be too graphic for my family friendly style, and republishing my JP Kline titles under my real name. This is allowing me to once again concentrate all of my efforts in areas that will best serve my readers as well as my writing career.

Starting over is not an easy task, but it is important for any business owner to recognize when changes are needed and to act in a way that best serves their business. If you have ever considered adding a pen name, I hope my journey has helped you in some way. While it may not be for me, I am sure there are those who can multi-task in a way that would make it beneficial for their writing career.
Sherrie Giddens is a family friendly author, Life offers various experiences and opportunities to us all. Sherrie Giddens uses her experiences within the business world, as a homeschooling mom, an entrepreneur and business owner, along with her Christian life, and creates titles of interest for the whole family.You and your children will be thrilled to read her fiction and nonfiction titles ranging from books on marketing, for the business minded individual, to picture books for toddlers. Readers can rest assured; they will never be exposed to material that is less than family friendly in any of her titles. All titles can be found at her author's page.
Sherrie also enjoys photography and travel. She took the glacier photo near Anchorage Alaska.  I found it interesting that a forest and a frozen glacier could survive side by side.  Our lives are similar, we suffer terrible losses and glorious blessings, but we survive. She also took the old bridge was moved to a park near our home.  It sits on level ground, going nowhere or anywhere, depending on how you look at it.

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