Dear Miss Snark,
Thanks so much for your terrific blog. I look forward to reading it first thing every morning. (Miss Snark-not just for breakfast anymore)
I have written a YA novel with another one on the way. I am starting to query agents. I'm wondering at what point I should consider using a pen name.
I have a unique and unusual last name. A close relative with the same unique and unusual last name writes a lot of fan fiction (science fiction and fantasy TV and movies) and self-publishes extensively on the web. I write realistic fiction and would never publish anything on the web. Do you think I should use a pen name, and, if so, at what point do I start using it?
My fear is that an agent is going to google me, see all the stuff posted by my close relative, and assume I write the same.
Thanks so much,
A devoted fan
You don't need a pen name on your query letters, you simply need to say "that other guy isn't me if you run a google on my name". I like people to query me with their correct name. It makes it less embarrassing if I call up and your kid says "never heard of her" when I ask for John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith.
There's time enough to get a pen name in the works when the tome is accepted for publication.
I have a client who has had three names in the time I've represented her. Her files here are A, her books say B, and her editor calls her C. It's a tad confusing, but we manage.