Thursday, May 28, 2015
Pseudonyms for anonymity?
The war of words (and petitions) still rages on social media and the Amazon forums - Should people be allowed to use made-up names?
Firstly, why would someone want to use a made-up name? There are a number of possible reasons, here are a few:
1. They have a completely stupid real name and they don't want their online buddies to laugh at them.
2. Whilst using their real name previously, they have found themselves the target of nasty individuals for whatever reasons.
3. The person wants to be a nasty individual and abuse decent people whilst hiding behind that made-up name (so he/she is harder to catch)
4. An author uses a name that either sounds more 'authory' or is better suited to the genre in which they are writing. (John Doe isn't nearly as interesting as Jonothan Deer)
5. An author chooses a made-up name to hide their real identify for countless reasons (a kindergarten teacher writing erotic for example).
6. An Author/reviewer/reader/blogger etc etc wants to keep their on-line identity separate from their real world private life (again, for countless possible reasons).
I've written a number of books now:
Russian Redemption - A dark and disturbing story that includes some graphic and offensive violence.
Fated Encounters - A raw and tragic romance story
Invictus Part 1 - Introducing Richard - A thriller full of Intrigue and action
Elementals - A YA story of fantasy and adventure. Sort of Harry Potter meets Bilbo Baggins meets Indiano Jones. (To be published)
Cannibis Island - Political thriller where American politics meets Mexican drug dealers in a mutually beneficial pact, with a twist. (To be completed)
As you can see I'm writing across a number of genres. I really wouldn't want a youth reading 'Elementals' and then picking up Russian Redemption just because it's by the same author. So, being the super clever and cunning person that I am, I selected an alternative identity, disguised my authors name; I went from Andrew J Wilson to A J Wilson! Pretty good eh! And, with the YA side of things, I'm contemplating Andy/Andi Wilson - what's your thoughts?
My point is that there can be legitimate reasons for using a pseudonym, (a made up name is a made up name whatever you call it).
Regrettably the world has its fair share of weirdo's, they are out there. The invention of the internet and social media allows these strange people to be anything they wish they were in their real life. And yes, some of them are extremely dangerous; health and wealth can be adversely affected by these people IF you let it.
So, the argument that pseudonyms/anonymity should be banned will in fact harm more people than it helps (in my opinion).
AND then we have the hypocrites, of which that same famous author referred to in an earlier post is an outstanding example: Ms Rice professes to champion the removal of anonymity on the Amazon forums (but it is ok for Authors to use pseudonyms),YET she has embarked on a whole new crusade against Facebook because they have removed one of her many disciples for using a fake name - Granny Goodwitch. Y'see Facebook aren't too struck on anonymity, they much prefer their accounts to be real names - the same as Ms Rice wants on Amazon - Is it just me on is there a sense of 'dictatorship/ rich and famous author throws hissy fit and demands her own way' about this?
I don't think it really matters, Ms Rice doesn't seem to be getting her own way with many things lately, something that seems to be gnarling at her ego. Kind of reminds me of my Nan, a sweet old woman, but as the marbles started to escape from the bag she turned nasty, twisted and vindictive. I would go as far as to say that she became quite delusional in the latter stages. No doubt the signs of an illness that she never lived ling enough to have properly diagnosed.
Anyway - lessons? Anonymity has many positive functions, and a few negative. And remember, no matter how rich and famous you become, you don't actually own the world.