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Book Publicist Scott Lorenz offers Authors Book Marketing Tips and Techniques on his Blog “The Book Publicist”

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Authors Tap into the Power of a Goodreads Giveaway

Authors Tap into the Power of a Goodreads Giveaway

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications

As a book publicist, I am always on the lookout for effective yet inexpensive ways to reach book buyers. Goodreads is one option. Owned by Amazon, With Goodreads, you can put your book into as many hands as possible, initiate word of mouth promotion and hopefully, succeed with flying colors. If you’re a published author, rest assured you already have a profile on Goodreads. Here’s how you can take full advantage of the platform:

1. Run a Goodreads Giveaway

Through a Goodreads Giveaway, you can promote yourself and your book to the ideal audience. A Goodreads Giveaway is exactly what it sounds like: You give away copies of your books to interested readers. To set up a Goodreads Giveaway, follow these steps.

  • Set Up Your Author Profile: First, create a Goodreads account, find the book(s) you’ve written, click on your name from the book’s page, and “claim” your author profile. After you receive an email confirmation, you can customize your profile.
  • Choose Your Book Format: Scroll down to “Your Giveaways” on your author dashboard and click on “Listing a Giveaway.” From there, decide whether you want to give away print or Kindle versions of your book.
  • Choose a Package: Next, select the Standard Package ($119) or Premium Package ($599). “Do the $119 eBook Goodreads giveaway,” says Alessandra Torre, a New York Times Bestselling Author and co-founder of Inkers Con dedicated to helping authors.
  • Choose Your Timeframe: Your giveaway can last anywhere between 1 week and 30 days. I recommend three weeks because it’s long enough for people to notice your giveaway, but not so long that they’ll forget about it.
  • Choose the Number of Books: I recommend giving away 100 Kindle books.
  • Spread the Word: While Goodreads readers will hopefully find your giveaway organically, it can’t hurt to promote it on your social media outlets and ask your network to share.

You can see a list of Goodreads Giveaways here.  If you’d like to hear a pro/con on a Goodreads Giveaway, then check out what YA Fantasy author Bethany Atazadeh has to say.

2. Participate in an Online Q&A Session

Ask the Author is Goodread’s Q&A platform on Goodreads that allows readers to submit questions to Goodreads Authors whenever they’d like. Until you decide to answer a question, it won’t be visible to the public. This gives you complete control over when you respond to reader questions and how you respond to them.

3. Blog, Blog, and Blog

Goodreads gives you the opportunity to blog about anything and everything.  If you have a blog, you can set it up, so Goodreads picks it up automatically via a RSS feed. You can write about your writing career, share reviews of your books, and position yourself as an expert. The sky’s the limit so get creative and think about what your reader base would like!

4. Publicize Upcoming Events

As an author you know how important it is to get out and about. If you have upcoming book signings and speaking engagements, you owe it to yourself to advertise them through Goodreads events.

5. Share Excerpts of Upcoming Publications

Excerpts can get your audience excited about a book you have in the works. Don’t be afraid to share them on Goodreads via your author blog.

6. Post Videos

Readers are more likely to remember your messages when you deliver them by video. If you can, create and publish unique videos on Goodreads about your books, charitable contributions, upcoming events, and more.

7. Create a Listopia List

Listopia is a way for people to find new books to read. Since most readers stick to a genre when they finish one book, they go to another in the same genre. I.E. Romance readers are not buying a business book after they finish their last romance book, they usually buy inside the same genre. Listopia allows readers to discover books that are similar to the ones they like or in the same genre because their book is listed as being similar. The concept is “If you like this book you’ll probably like that book.”

8. Share, Share, and Share

Last but not least, share your list of favorite books and recent reads with your fans! This tip is simple but very effective and important.

The Bottom Line: If you’re in search of a fresh yet effective way to promote your work as an author, you owe it to yourself to explore Goodreads.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Book Marketing, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Book Marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.


Attention Women Authors – Don’t Sell Yourselves Short

Attention Women Authors – Don’t Sell Yourselves Short

By: Scott Lorenz
Westwind Book Marketing

It’s happened again. A female author client of mine decided that she did not want to conduct interviews with podcasters, radio or TV show hosts. Why? Because she thought her southern accent was too strong.

I disagreed emphatically… to no avail. I thought her accent was fine. She was easy to understand, and it added authenticity to the interview. I even offered more media training to help give her confidence. “Sorry, not going to do it.”

Now, had she or any other client had a strong accent making an interview impossible to understand, then we would most definitely focus on other methods to promote the book. We are not here to make a fool of anyone.

But having self-critical author is not new.

In another instance, a prospective female author, called me to discuss promoting her book. But she warned me that she was shy about getting publicity, and that she was not sure about using the incredible endorsement she got from a bestselling author of 30 million books – Jack Canfield. I was stunned.

I honestly have never come across a male author who said, “I am not worthy of the PR you are about to get me!” They may be out there, but I’ve never seen them.

I have, however, spoken to a number of women who have implied that, for a variety of reasons, they are not worthy of the attention, and I am here to tell you to STOP IT!

I explained to my prospective client that before I can even begin to help her, she needs to stop pulling punches, and to stop selling herself short, and recognize her self-worth.

Often, the biggest barrier between some women and success is themselves. This concept is discussed in the multi-year-best-selling book Lean In, written by Sheryl Sandberg, the former Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Sandberg says that women are conditioned by society to blend in, to stay out of the limelight, and even to downplay their power or success. In the book, she cites a meeting with Tim Geithner, who was at the time the Secretary of the Treasury:

“Secretary Geithner’s team, all women, took their food last and sat in chairs off to the side of the room. … [They] had every right to be at this meeting, but because of their seating choice, they seemed like spectators rather than participants.”

It is no secret that some women have been taught to hold themselves back for cultural, religious and other reasons. This is archaic and has no place in our world today nor should it.

The Bottom Line: Women, put your foot on the accelerator and don’t let it off! Believe in your book, enter book award contests, listen to your PR professional, do the interviews, and believe that you are worthy of winning! Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Book Marketing, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Book Marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.


Authors: Contribute to Print Pubs to Promote Your Book

Book Publicist Scott Lorenz Offers Tips on How to Contribute to the New York Times, Huffington Post and Success!

Authors: Contribute to Print Pubs to Promote Your Book

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications

Whether you’re a new author or have been around for decades, it’s important to continually promote yourself. The more you build your brand, the more likely you are to get published, sell your works, and meet your goals.

By writing for prominent online publications, you can do just that. Do your research and find several publications that accept entries from authors. Then, follow their editorial guidelines and submit original, compelling articles.

Editorial Guidelines

Each publication has their own unique editorial guidelines so it’s important to write a piece to their target audience. If they say they want a 500-word piece don’t turn in 900-word piece. Simple right?

For example, The Huffington Post says they are “Looking for freelancers who have compelling and unique pitches about TV, film, music, celebrity and internet culture, with an eye toward how pop culture and entertainment trends reflect the world around us.”

A prominent business publication says “We inspire and educate small business owners to start and grow successful businesses.  We also work with large brands that want to reach small businesses.”

Then each publication has their preferred article structure, which often includes information about word count, titles, headings and subheadings, paragraphs, and sentences. The article must conform to their linking policy. (Some allow links to websites, and some do not)

Here’s an example, “Your article length should be from 500 – 1,000 words – give or take. We want to avoid the death wall of text, especially as our posts are seen on mobile devices. Keep paragraphs between 3-5 sentences max.” “Sentences should be no longer than 19 words. Break up long sentences into shorter sentences where you see “but, that and because.”

Add a minimum of two links. Aim to place one around the 50% mark. Have at least one quality internal link that relates to the blog content as well as 1-2 external, authoritative links.”

Most editorial guidelines will also discuss what types of media (images, videos, infographics, etc.) are permitted. In addition, they’ll also mention any SEO preferences and byline submission requirements. Typically, you’ll be able to include your headshot, social media platforms, and a link to your website. This part is almost as important as the actual article so put some thought into it!

Publications Seeking Contributors

There is no shortage of online publications that accept submissions from authors like you. Here are a few options to get you started.

The Bottom Line: Make the effort to contribute to publications. One big hit could propel you and your book to great heights!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Book Marketing, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Book Marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.


Ghostwriters, Who Needs Them? YOU DO! Read This Before You Hire One

Ghostwriters, Who Needs Them? YOU DO! Read This Before You Hire One

By: Scott Lorenz
Westwind Book Marketing

Ghostwriters work behind the curtain as narrative architects of the literary world. You’ve probably read a ghostwritten book without knowing it, since their names are rarely credited in the books they write. Some experts estimate that up to 60% of the nonfiction section in your nearest bookstore is ghostwritten.

As a book publicist deeply involved in the world of storytelling, some of my clients seek out ghostwriters to pen their books. Working with a ghostwriter can save you valuable time and energy and give your book a professional edge. But ghostwriters can be hard to vet, and their referrals tend to be word-of-mouth. There are also a few things you should know before you hire one. So, I put together a quick list of my favorite ghostwriters in 2023, as well as the top agencies, and a few tips for hiring a ghostwriter.

Marie Hasty

“The books I write for my clients change lives. That’s what I love about ghostwriting — even more so than personal relationships and getting to learn from healthcare leaders. These aren’t vanity books; they’re deeply impactful career investments.” 

Marie is a concierge ghostwriter and former hospital nurse who writes business books and memoirs for healthcare innovators. Her clients are often busy clinicians and leaders who are focusing on a better future for medicine. Her writing helps build brand authority and audience recognition. She loves elevating these leaders’ influence with the books she writes, as well as seeing her clients succeed as published authors.

To learn more about Marie’s work, visit her website: www.mariehasty.com

Debra Englander

“You need to think about your target audience. Some authors want a book to promote their business or gain more visibility. But you should consider the benefits to the reader. Ultimately, writing a book that provides something tangible — skills, exercises, stories – is the one that will be recommended. As ghostwriter and editor, I help the author communicate his or her message in the most effective way to reach a wide readership. Having worked as an editor at traditional publishers, I have a good handle on what books are likely to succeed.”

Debra Englander has worked as a writer and editor for magazines and publishers; she managed a business book program at Wiley for seventeen years, publishing numerous NY Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers.

Learn more about her work at www.linkedin.com/in/DebraEnglander or contact her at: [email protected]

Mike Ball

“We can work with your outline, your rough manuscript, or we can interview you and write your book from scratch.”

Mike Ball is an Erma Bombeck Award-winning author with three books of his own in print, including an Amazon bestseller, “Banjos, Boats and Butt Dialing.” He is a popular speaker at writer’s conferences and retreats and facilitates a number of writers’ groups.

Mike has helped hundreds of authors bring their work into the world, partnering with them in various roles as an editor, writing coach and ghost writer. He most recently penned “MIA’S ODYSSEY.” This 12-time-award-winning book has captivated the hearts and minds of many across the USA for its powerful story about a woman married off by her parents, abused by her husband, homeless all while raising five children. This book is currently in development as a screenplay. He’s ghostwritten several memoirs and a book about “SALES.” CNN has named him a CNN Hero for 2023 for his work with troubled youth using music as an expression of their innermost fears, hopes and dreams. If you have a compassionate, endearing story then Mike is your ghost.

Check out his website: https://www.mikeballonline.com/

Erick Mertz

“Whether I’m working on a memoir or screenplay, my work is focused on bringing the best possible story to the page. I believe we are all natural storytellers. Working with a professional ghostwriter offers the best opportunity to affect your target audience.”

Erick Mertz is a dynamic storyteller who left a career in social work to follow his calling as a full-time professional ghostwriter. He is a native of the Pacific Northwest with dozens of ghostwritten screenplays, television episodes, business books, memoirs and novels to his credit. He especially enjoys working with his clients to discover what it is that makes their story unique.

Visit his website at: www.erickmertzwriting.com

Erick is also the author of How To Hire A Ghostwriter: Your Guide To Finding The Best Pro For Your Writing Project.”

Christina Schweighofer

“From my earliest days as a journalist, I have loved interviewing people, hearing about their experiences and dreams, and making their story come alive on the page. My clients, in turn, feel seen and valued for who they are.”

Christina has a passion for writing that began in her days as a staff journalist and reporter in Austria. She’s an accomplished writer and interviewer, known for her ability to capture the essence of the people she writes for. Christina specializes in personal and business memoirs and has interviewed and portrayed notable names such as John Irving, Lisbeth Zwerger, Wolfgang Puck, and more.

Learn more about Christina and her ghostwriting services at: www.chswriter.com

Pam Gossiaux

My clients are often busy entrepreneurs and CEOs who have a great book idea, but no time to write about it. Entrepreneurs are fearless about change, they love challenges, and are known for creating the future they want. I love being a part of that energy! Handing them a finished book that they can add to their platform is very rewarding for both of us. I love to write and am blessed that I can do what I love for a living!”

Pamela specializes in ghostwriting business books and articles but writes sweet romance fiction on the side. Her clients are USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal bestselling authors and range from budding entrepreneurs to seasoned C-Suite executives.

Explore Pamela’s website at: www.BestsellingBookShepherd.com

Dr. Don Steele

“My Legacy books capture the life of people with stories that need to be told. There’s an African Proverb that says “When a man dies a whole library of life experience turns to ashes”. The Legacy books I write prevent that.”

Dr. Steele has an impressive background in education and as a corporate speaker at the highest levels and has published nine books, three of which have been used as university textbooks. His ‘Moments to Remember’ Legacy book series helps preserve and elevate stories of people who have led fascinating lives. His titles have included Rebel Without Applause, Undefeated, and The Misfit Millionaire: The Life and Times of Terry Duperon.

Find out more about Don on his website: www.performancelearninginc.com/authoring-1

Julie Anne Eason

“Your book needs to do more than just position you as an expert. These days ‘expert books’ and ‘business card’ books are everywhere, and most never make an impact. No matter what your topic, your book needs to inspire, educate, and sell. It should inspire the with stories that engage the senses. It should educate with original frameworks and structures that are easy to understand and pass along. And it should sell additional products and services, so readers have ongoing support from you and/or your company. Find a ghostwriter who can do all that and write in your voice, and you’ve got a winner!”

Julie Anne Eason is CEO of Thanet House Publishing, as well as a best-selling author and ghostwriter. She has ghostwritten and consulted on multimillion-dollar books for industry leaders like Russell Brunson, Alex Hormozi, Amanda Holmes, Annie Grace, Alex Charfen and more. She is the author of The Profitable Business Author: How to Write a Book That Attracts Clients and Customers, The 5 Author Freakouts, and Writing For Money & Meaning.

Learn more at JulieAnneEason.com or ThanetHouseBooks.com

Robert Taggart

He is an accomplished former media writer for magazines and news articles. He has co-authored the Elizabeth Bromwell Expat series and a recent biography. His work experience as a radio show host on an NBC-affiliated sports station helped him hone and master his skills by interviewing sports players, coaches, and executives.

Learn more about his work at www.linkedin.com/in/rtbondwritingadventures

Dr. Katie Lever

The adrenaline of creating a story that exceeds what a client might expect is invigorating. As a former journalist, I was fortunate to meet many interesting people and tell their stories. Ghostwriting offers the same reward—I get to take raw ideas, research, mold, and make a client’s dream come to life on the page.”

“We live in a highly filtered world—everywhere we look, people are carefully curated, which is why, to me, the most important part of writing is authenticity: people truly crave what is raw, real, and human. I’ve written articles, academic papers, long-form journalism pieces, nonfiction work, a dissertation, and an award-winning novel and I’m proud to say that every piece is uniquely my own. It’s always a joy to tap into an author’s sense of self-expression when I work with them because it makes their writing shine and gives them the chance to show up as themselves. The world needs more authenticity and writing is the perfect vehicle for it. I’d love to help you bring out yours.”

Dr. Katie Lever is the award-winning author of Surviving the Second Tier, a dystopian novel about the college sports industry. She’s also an editor, freelance journalist, and scholar whose work has been published in textbooks and top journals in communication studies. Her work is located here: https://linktr.ee/Katielever

For inquiries, please reach out via LinkedIn messenger: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katie-lever-941a31180

You can also reach out via messenger on Instagram and X by searching @leverfever.

Ghostwriting Agencies

Writer’s groups and agencies can be another great resource for finding a ghostwriter for your next project.

Jenkins Group

With 35 years of custom book publishing and ghostwriting experience, the Jenkins Group has written and produced books for thousands of clients. With the expertise of their professional writers, your ideas and concepts are transformed into polished and engaging content. Working closely with their clients, Jenkins Group understands your goals, voice, and objectives, ensuring that the final product aligns with your vision. Since they are full service, they can also handle the publishing and distribution of your book once its completed. Reach them at: www.JenkinsGroupInc.com

Gotham Ghostwriters

Gotham Ghostwriters, founded by CEO Dan Gerstein, is the first agency dedicated to long-form writing solutions. With a network of over 3,200 skilled writers, Gotham has successfully matched clients with top-tier editorial professionals for over a decade. From business books to white papers, their one-stop solution offers excellent ghostwriting support and expertise.

Between these top agencies and the writers, I mentioned earlier, you should be able to find someone who meets your ghostwriting needs. But what should you know before hiring a book ghostwriter? Let’s talk about it.

4 Tips for Hiring a Ghostwriter

Know ghostwriting rates.

Many people are surprised at the going rate for ghostwriting. For example, Gotham’s rates start around $30-35k. Many of the top writers’ charge in the six figures. J.D. Moehringer, who ghostwrote Prince Harry’s memoir Spare, was paid a million dollars. If you want a professionally written book, expect to pay at least $25,000.

Know your audience.

It’s essential to know and understand who you want to target before you hire a ghostwriter for your book. Knowing your audience leads to a more successful book launch and a more targeted book. Your ghostwriter won’t intuit your audience, so it’s essential to know this before you work together.

Do some vetting.

Ghostwriters can be difficult to evaluate because many work under strict Non-Disclosure Agreements. But any writer should have samples of work you can view before agreeing to work together. You’ll likely be able to tell after a quick conversation whether they’re experienced or not.

Seek compatibility.

The writing process can be an intimate affair with the author and ghostwriter. Look for someone who is reliable, and who you genuinely like talking to. They should be good listeners and take the time to understand you and your project.

Following these tips will help you find a ghostwriter who will elevate your story, build your brand authority, and above all, make the book-writing process a breeze. If you’ve been thinking about writing a book for more than a year… it’s time to hire a ghostwriter. We’re not getting any younger!

The Bottom Line: Hire a Ghostwriter! A ghostwriter will get the job done faster and probably better than you can write it yourself.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.

Would you like help promoting your book?

If so, tell us a little about your book. What is the title? Do you have a publisher? What is the publish date? How many pages is your book? What is the cost? Do you have web site? What is your specific goal I.E., to make money, raise awareness, get the attention of an agent or publisher, sell the story to a movie or TV studio or something else?

Submit the form below with this information and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!


Authors – Want to Create a Pen Name? Here’s How to Do It

Authors - Want to Create a Pen Name? Here's How to Do It

Having a difficult time selecting a pen name? Try these random name generators. You may get some inspiration from some of these and its fun to see what they come up with.

By: Scott Lorenz
Westwind Book Marketing

Do you need a pen name? A rich tradition has existed for hundreds of years for fiction writers to use pen names. You may be surprised to learn that some authors have more than 10 pen names. Here’s why pen names have been and continue to be widely used: Many authors believe that their name can affect how their audience sees them and even affect their book sales.

One of the most famous pen names, of course, was Samuel Clemens who wrote under the name Mark Twain. Another well-known one is Lewis Carroll, which was used by Alice in Wonderland’s author, Charles Dodgdon. He gained a considerable reputation as a mathematician and didn’t want to create confusion by writing fiction under his real name.

In 1992, Putnam Publishers asked Nora Roberts to come up with a second pen name because they could not keep up with the prolific writer’s romance novels let alone the genre of romance suspense novels she wanted to write. So she took the initials J.D. from sons Jason and Dan and shortened Roberts to Robb. She has also written under the pen names Jill March and Sarah Hardesty.

New York Times Best Selling author Nora Roberts is a pen name used by Eleanor Marie Robertson. Nora Roberts’ name has regularly appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List since 1999. Since her first best seller in 1991, Nora’s books have spent 1,045 weeks on the Best Seller List. Believe it or not, that’s equivalent to 20 consecutive years of weekly bestsellers.

In 1992, Putnam Publishers asked Nora Roberts to come up with a second pen name because they could not keep up with the prolific writer’s romance novels let alone the new genre of romance suspense novels she wanted to write. So, she took the initials J.D. from sons Jason and Dan and shortened Roberts to Robb. She also has written under the pen names Jill March and Sara Hardesty.

Whether you call it a pen name, pseudonym, non de plume, alias or AKA, you are creating a new persona that’ll need care and feeding!  Scott Lorenz, Book Publicist

One of my book marketing clients served as a Navy Seal in the Iraq War and then returned to write a book about his war experiences.  To protect his personal safety and maintain security for his family, he used the pen name Chuck Bravedy.  The author was concerned that extremists living in America would be offended and angered by his controversial book and come after him or his family.

The fact that Chuck Bravedy was not listed as a Navy Seal caused The Pentagon to call me. They explained they wanted to keep phonies from impersonating military officials. I gladly connected them both!

Another client was a former CIA station chief. He was concerned about the impact a pen name would have on promoting his book. After discussing the pros and cons he decided to use his real name. (The CIA has to clear any books written by former high-level staff to make sure they do not reveal secrets).

I’ve represented two Medical Doctors who both wrote serious erotica. Neither wanted their hospitals to know about their ‘other’ life so they both chose pen names and donned disguises for their headshots.

From a marketing standpoint if your real-life identity is associated with a business and you want the book to promote your business, or vice versa, then no need for a pen name. But if you have success, and don’t want that success threatened by pursuing an avocation of writing, then a pen name would be in order. Pen names may create marketing challenges, most of which can be overcome, and so the marketing implications need to be examined before publishing.

Since the publishers of JK Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, were unsure if the preteen boys that she was targeting would accept wizard stories that were written by a woman, they encouraged her to use her initials instead of her real name, which is Joanne Rowling. The “K’ in JK came from her grandmother’s name Kathleen and she’s been known as JK Rowling ever since.

Known as one of the most famous comic book writers in the world, Stan Lee’s real name is Stanley Martin Lieber. He initially decided to publish under Stan Lee because he thought he would eventually transition to more serious work and wanted to use his real name when and if that time came. Once he realized that he was destined to stay a comic book writer, he legally changed his name to Stan Lee.

If you’ve ever read the popular children’s series, A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Wrong Questions, you probably know that the author is Lemony Snicket. Believe it or not, his real name is Daniel Handler. He decided to go with Lemony Snicket because he wanted to anonymously contact right-wing organizations. Handler first came up with the Lemony Snicket pen name while doing research for his first novel, The Basic Eight. He needed to contact right-wing organizations for the book, but he didn’t want to give them his real name. So, he called himself “Lemony Snicket,” and the moniker stuck.

Reasons for using a pen name include:

  • To avoid embarrassment
  • For personal safety or security
  • If you write under more than one genre
  • If your name is hard to pronounce or spell
  • If your name is not marketable
  • If your name conflicts with the name of another author
  • To hide gender (a male writing in the predominantly female genre)
  • To avoid confusing readers if you are well known in another field.

Reasons to use your real name:

If you want to hide from the public and from people you work with or worked with, etc., then a pen name is fine. But, if it’s not important, why bother? So, my vote is to use your own name. Here are just a few points to ponder.

  • If you are not trying to hide from anyone.
  • To brand yourself and promote your name for speaking gigs or consulting assignments.
  • If you are planning to write a series of books.
  • So people can find your published works.
  • Your face behind your name builds trust and confidence with readers.

Here’s some interesting information I’ve obtained from librarians and employees at bookstores. Is there a popular author whose work is similar to yours?  Why not select a pen name beginning with the same letter as that author’s name? Since most books are filed by genre and then the author’s last name, selecting a pen name with the same letter puts you in close proximity to their books.

Someone searching for that author could ‘stumble’ upon your book and decide to take a look. Radio stations have done it for years by selecting their location on the ‘dial’ nearby other highly rated stations so they could benefit from the proximity of that popular station. Crafty? Perhaps but do you want to sell books or not?

Having a difficult time selecting a pen name? Try these random name generators. You may get some inspiration from some of these and it’s fun to see what they come up with.

1. https://chucklehound.com/generator/

2. https://businessnameguide.com/

3. https://www.dotomator.com/

4. https://naming.net/

5. https://www.shopify.com/tools/business-name-generator

6. https://namestation.com/

7. https://www.businessnamegenerator.net/

8. https://businessnamegenerator.com/

9. https://www.netsubstance.com/

10. https://looka.com/business-name-generator/

11. https://namelix.com/

12. https://www.wix.com/tools/business-name-generator

13. https://logo.com/business-name-generator

14. https://www.oberlo.com/tools/business-name-generator

15. https://blog.reedsy.com/pen-name-generator/

16. https://www.name-generator.org.uk/pen-name/

17. https://www.dcode.fr/pseudonym-generator

18. https://www.invaluable.com/blog/pen-name-generator/

19. https://www.namegenerator.biz/pseudonym-generator.php

20. https://bookbird.io/tools/pen-name-generator/

21. https://www.fakenamegenerator.com/

22. https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/victorian-names.php

23. https://www.namegeneratorfun.com/cool

24. https://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=evilnamer

25. https://rumandmonkey.com/widgets/toys/namegen/12465#.XG11qegzbIU

26. https://www.namegenerator.co/fantasy/pen-name-generator

27. https://www.namesnerd.com/people/pen-name-generator/

28. https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1172-the-ultimate-romance-pen-name-generator

29. https://domainwheel.com/pen-name-generator/

30. https://bookraid.com/ai/pen-name-generator

31. https://www.duplichecker.com/name-generator.php

32. https://anytexteditor.com/pen-name-generator

33. https://www.behindthename.com/

34. https://www.fantasynamegen.com/

35. https://www.orrt.org/literary/names.php

36. https://thestoryshack.com/tools/pen-name-generator/

37. https://coda.io/@hales/fake-name-generator

38. https://www.selfpublishingtitans.com/tools/Pen-Name-Generator

39. https://www.brandroot.com/business-name-generator

40. https://randomnamegenerators.com/various-name-generators/pen-name-generator/

41. https://www.renderforest.com/business-name-generator

The Bottom Line: A Pen Name is an author’s useful tool for the right reasons.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.

Would you like help promoting your book?

If so, tell us a little about your book. What is the title? Do you have a publisher? What is the publish date? How many pages is your book? What is the cost? Do you have web site? What is your specific goal I.E., to make money, raise awareness, get the attention of an agent or publisher, sell the story to a movie or TV studio or something else?

Submit the form below with this information and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!