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Readers, Please research and use wisdom before buying

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes Jacqueline Seewald

Good Morning,

Today is the day we say our final goodbye to my dad. I appreciate all the love and support you have shown and covet your continued prayers for me and my family as we continue to navigate these weeks after the hurricane and his death.

Today's guest is no stranger to our blog, so please welcome Jacqueline Seewald back to share some words with us on branding. Take it away, Jacqueline!

A Question of Branding

Should authors use their real names on their writing or should they use pseudonyms? Is branding a help or hindrance to writers? There’s been a lot of discussion among writers as to whether it benefits authors to be branded--by that I mean that writers want to market themselves by promoting their name, associating their name with a particular type, genre or style of writing. The premise? This is the best way to build a readership. For instance, when we see the name Nora Roberts we immediately think of romantic suspense. “Nora Roberts,” real name Eleanor Marie Robertson, also writes under “J.D. Robb” for her mystery series. The name Stephen King is immediately associated with horror, but he has chosen to write under other pseudonyms as well. Jayne Ann Krentz writes her contemporary romances under that name, her sci-fi/fantasy under Jayne Castle, and her historical romances under Amanda Quick. The advantage is that fans know what to expect.

Many writers choose to use pen names. They write in a variety of genres and assume a different nom de plume for each. The theory is that it will confuse readers if writers use the same name for different types of work. There is also a tendency for publishers to try to place writers in neat categories. It’s more convenient to connect a name to a particular format. Harlequin was famous for insisting that writers have romantic sounding nom de plumes.

But what if you resist branding? Are you destroying your chance to be taken seriously as a writer or build a readership? I don’t have the answer to this question. I can only admit that I don’t limit myself to one particular format in my writing. My books are not “in the box.”  

As of now, twenty of my books are published by a variety of publishers, some large, some small. I have written romantic suspense, mysteries, historical romances, YA mysteries and romances, as well as children’s books and stories. All of these appear under my own name.

However, there is an exception. When I write short stories from a masculine viewpoint, I use my initials. My novella THE BURNING also appears under “J. P. Seewald” for that reason. A lot of female writers do this because men seem to prefer reading stories and novels ostensibly written by other men, especially when presented from a masculine viewpoint. 

Likewise, there are a number of male authors who write women’s fiction/romances as well as mysteries under female pseudonyms.

I hope you will consider reading my writing. My most current novels are: 

BLOOD FAMILY (Kim Reynolds mystery #5 published by Encircle)



HIGHLAND HEART (historical romance published by Luminosity) now available

in pre-publication to order:



What is your opinion? Does branding by name recognition benefit writers or is it not really that important to you as a reader? Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Fifteen of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including THE INFERNO COLLECTION, THE DROWNING POOL, THE TRUTH SLEUTH and DEATH LEGACY. Newly released in September is her co-authored mystery THE THIRD EYE. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies.

THANKS Jacqueline for sharing your words of wisdom with us! As a reader, I don't worry about branding but as a writer, my brand is easy..."Inspirational with an Edge" (tm). 

Good luck and God's blessings with your new releases!


Mary Preston said...

I can understand an author using a pen name for anonymity. It's very confusing if an author uses different names for different genres. If I like the writing style of an author I want to read all of their work. Most times I would not know them by the different names. They miss out as much as I do - maybe more.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Mary,

I find it confusing at times as well. That's why I use my own name for my work. I also like to connect with readers and this way I'm easy to find.

Saralyn said...

My deepest sympathies to you, Pamela. I admire your "show must go on" spirit in posting this wonderful piece by Jacqueline. Jacqueline, you pose an interesting question, and I'll bet the responses are equally divided. I know authors who have regretted using pseudonyms and authors who wished they had used pseudonyms. J.K. Rowling was pressured into using initials instead of her name, Joanna, in order to attract a male audience. We know how that turned out for her, but would Harry Potter have succeeded with a female author's name?

Susan Oleksiw said...

Interesting post, Jacquie. I've struggled with this question since my name is challenging. Every agent I've had thought I should keep it, and only one editor suggested a pseudonym. I don't know what the answer is to the many questions around branding, but I think about them often. Fortunately, all my mysteries focus on relationship issues, family and the like. I guess that's my brand.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


I think we all for deeply for Pam's loss. I know from personal experience how awful it is to lose your parents.

As to the current blog, you bring up a significant question: would J.K. Rowling have done as well with at first with the Harry Potter series if she hadn't gone with initials?

Jacqueline Seewald said...


I do think women readers are more into relationship issues. So keeping a female author name makes good sense.

D. V. STONE said...

Hi! I write as D. V. Stone only because that's how I sign my name. LOL in the beginning I dreamed of major book signings and didnt want to make mistakes. Donna🦉

shyam cj said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Barbara Britton said...

Interesting interview, Jacqueline. Authors are creative people and have many stories in their head. It's a shame that we have to separate them under different pen names. It's confusing to readers and more work for authors.

My condolences to you, Pam. I am praying for you and your family.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


I think initials are fine as long as there is consistency.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


I agree that using separate pen names becomes confusing for readers. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Kelly Goshorn said...

I kind of like the idea of using different pen names for different genres. Not all readers like all genres.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

It has worked for certain well-known authors, but not all.