Obviously Clancy Nacht is a nom de plume, chosen for personal as well as professional purposes, but it’s what I chose to encompass my “professional writing.” Charlotte was my fandom writing name and though I’d considered using it moving forward (and lamented at times that I didn’t because I was basically starting over) there seemed to be compelling arguments for splitting the two and I’d gone with it.
In a new wrinkle, another very popular m/m author has suggested that sales have improved on re-release of their m/f work under a different name. It’s not shady, they’re very open that it’s the same person and the name change was simply for branding purposes, but I guess for me, that’s the interesting part. Branding purposes. Author as brand.
As Charlotte, I wrote WAFF, angst, horror, squick, whatever. I didn’t really care about a brand, I wasn’t selling anything. I write what I feel like and I never thought to segment the identities. Or did I? I’d toyed with writing YA and recognized the need for a different identity because you don’t necessarily want to cross-pollinate those audiences until they’re old enough to Google. Or something. I dunno. I didn’t write anything YA, so besides trying to be the Amelia Bedelia of author names (I was playing with Charlotte Scarlett) I didn’t do much.
Now, spoiler alert for book 3 after Double Black (Black Gold 2), but I was going to include characters from my m/f A Model Boyfriend in the story. I mean, the guys are in NY, Andy and Brandon are there, why not? I like when authors sort of tie their worlds together, personally. But in that case, it wouldn’t make much sense for me to rebrand my m/f as another author name.
But. I do write some horror. Erotic horror, usually, but horror it is. I’ve completed a short story and I really love it. The problem is, it’s inspired by Hannibal and that, uh, shows. Clancy Nacht is sort of a goth/horror name and I’ve released horror under this name, but I dunno. Is it worth busting out a whole new name? With a full-time job and lots of writing, I barely keep up with this second identity. But I can’t ignore that at GRL people get whiplash going from the writing I do with Thursday Euclid and how sunny that can be to my solo work which…can be sunny but can be really dark.
For me, an author is a brand to an extent. I expect good writing out of them though I don’t know that I’ve expected that they stay in one genre. But I wonder if it damages my brand to have someone come in after reading Stay to wonder, “what the shit, Prozac?” after Black Gold. Or vice versa. I hate thinking of myself as a brand, though. I am an author. I have big thoughts that I often transfer into people/words/scenarios that I’m trying to work out. Part of me already feels segmented ala Billy/Goldie and I was hoping that as I moved towards solvency as a writer alone that I could merge that. This sounds like more segmentation and I’m not entirely sure that will benefit me as a person, though it may well work for me as a writer.
Just what’s on my mind today. I’m making no sudden moves.
4 thoughts on “Identity Crisis”
As a reader I wouldn’t want predictability from an author, be it solo work or co-authored works. I love your light hearted yaoi-esque style when you write with Thursday, it never fails to make me smile. However, something darker be it solo or dual written would also be welcomed and probably enjoyed just as thoroughly too.
You never know. Writing under one name only, might just introduce new genres and fields to readers who like to play safe. They might be encouraged to read outside of their comfort zones and try something new. Simply because you wrote it ;D
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoy the yaoi-esque stuff. It’s meant to be more lighthearted and fun insanity and really, the series I’m starting is drawing from that, too. And I get the theory that you want to build a brand and bring your Yaoi a-game lest readers who prefer that don’t follow you down that scary dark corridor with the cannibals.
But, there’s an element of the yaoi to even that, I think. I read reviews about some of the over-the-top antics and I think, “I need to do an interview where I lay out stuff like that I grew up in the south and my neighbor had a monkey and drove a powder blue Corvette, and really, these characters are fairly normal in comparison ’cause I can at least explain why the monkey.”
I’d love to take readers down some of those darker paths. Introduce them to ideas they hadn’t considered before. There are few things more gratifying to me, personally, than when someone says something like, “I didn’t even like May/December, but I like this!” Or cats. Or vibrating buttplugs… or….
I understand the rationale but I struggle with it as an artist. I do get that people who were NOT into the yaoi may be really interested in my two biggo macho men with very hairy bodies fighting over who tops (just kidding, that’s not going to happen–bears maybe…) but there’s something that feels deceptive about it, too.
I think you should write whatever you want to write, but just be clear in the summary what the book is about. There have been several books I’ve read that at first glance didn’t appeal to me because it wasnt a genre I was interested in. But the eye catching cover, the back of the book and the first few pages sucked me in. And sometimes knowing it came from an author I recognized and liked pushed towards getting it too. Amy Lane’s steampunk novel Under the Rushes is the latest example.. Not really into steampunk novels (love the fashion) so put off getting it for awhile. Got it mainly caue it’s Amy. Was blown away with how good it is. Yes its a brand, but your fans know that name. Let them know what genre it is and they’ll come.
Oh sure. There are people who can say “oh shifters are hot, I’ll write a shifter book” and bust it out and do it brilliantly. I really can’t. What comes out is what comes out and sometimes it’s fun and light and fluffy and sometimes it’s gory and weird, displaced in time and space and…God only knows. Most of those just sit on my hard drive. Sometimes I release them.
It’s good to know that you picked up a book that wasn’t your thing because of the author, though. Amy Lane seems to be one of those authors that can do anything brilliantly.
Thanks for your advice!
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