Top Ten Reasons to use a Pseudonym

What music should I use?

I’m thinking maybe that screeching music from Psycho? While Janet Leigh is getting stabbed in the shower?

Or no, maybe that sort of chanting song the flying monkeys are singing while they march into the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle. Oh WE oh we OHHHHH uh (can you hear it?)

I need to set a tone today.

A suspenseful tone. While I tell you all what I’ve DONE!!!????


In October I’ll have my first release as the pseudonymous Mary Nealy.

Here’s a little bit about it before we talk more.

Ten Plagues

By Mary Nealy

A demon possessed serial killer acts out the Ten Plagues of Egypt on the city of Chicago.

An inner city mission pastor draws the attention of a madman and becomes the focus of his rage.

A lady cop with the spiritual gift of discerning spirits gets the case and is confronted with an evil unlike any she’s ever known.

The pastor and the cop race to stop a murderer, knowing that the plague of the first born and the plague of darkness are being saved just for them.

A Rose by any other name will still alienate her readers if Lil Rosy steps too far outside her brand.

I love Ten Plagues. I think it’s as fun as anything I’ve ever written. But it is DIFFERENT. And that’s why I wanted the pseudonym. If you pick up Ten Plagues and ask yourself, “I wonder what state THIS cowboy’s ranch is in?” you’re in for a shock.


This is me from back in the day when no one would publish my books and I was on a wild ride, writing whatever I wanted. Whatever entertained me. And this just entertained the stuffin’ out of me.

So,  I’m going to give you:

The top ten reasons 

you might want to publish under a pseudonym

10) You write romance and your name isn’t romantic. Gertrude Hogg might wanta think about a pseudonym. (Please, Dear Lord God in Heaven don’t let any Petticoats and Pistols visitors be named Gertrude Hogg) Part 2 of #10, related, because your name is possibly stupid. So Myrtle, you really married a guy named Snarfblatt? Wow, that’s so wonderful. You must be MADLY in love. Pick a pseudonym, sweetie.

9) You just got a contract for erotica and you don’t want your mother to find out. (You should never publish ANYTHING your mother can’t find out about. That ought to be a law. Signed Mary Connealy–Mother of Four)

8) Your name is impossible to spell. Hello Mary Connealy. HOWEVER, the upside of an odd name is that the website for your name is most likely not taken.

7) Your name is Nora and you’re married to the love of your life, William Roberts. Give up. Your name is never gonna come up first in a Google search. NEVER

6) Your name is twistable into something that sounds like a porn site. Ask my friend Carol Cox about that one. And no, she didn’t change her name, but it’s been interesting at time.

5) You work somewhere at a day job where your privacy is important. Though I suspect any effort you make to write with true anonymity is a failed effort.

4) To hide your gender. See Leigh Greenwood and Alex Kava on this one. Yes their gender is out now but not at first. In fact I met Leigh Greenwood, a very successful romance novelist, at RWA and he said he’d come out of the closet and admitted he was a man several books ago.

3) Because you’re prolific. And you want to write more books a year than your publisher will let you.

2) Because your name is generic. Ask my sister Linda Swenson about this one. A lovely name and a lovely woman. But go google her name. It didn’t even come up. I got ‘narrow search’ instead of hits.

And the number one reason for using a pseudonym

1) You are changing genres. Yes, if you’re going from western romance to romantic thrillers you probably ought to warn your readers. Same goes for romance to women’s fiction. And Christian fiction to Vampires.

I picked Mary Nealy but it was by no means my first choice. I found naming myself surprisingly embarrassing. Go see the suspenseful side of ME.

And now here is a trailer for Ten Plagues.

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a giveaway of

Click on the title to buy

Then all that remains is to

Be Afraid!

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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

24 thoughts on “Top Ten Reasons to use a Pseudonym”

  1. Sounds like a spooky story, Mary. Perfect for an October release. 😉

    So do you have any cowboys making cameo appearances? I’m picturing Alfred Hitchcock working his way subtly into every picture. I hope Mary Nealy has as much success as the one with the cowboys!

  2. Mary, congratulations on the new and VERY different kind of story from you. But I’ll have to be convinced that you don’t have a cowboy hidden somewhere in there. Maybe the pastor is head of a cowboy church?? Love your new name. I also loved the video trailer. Really nice. AND SCARY. I know this book will sell like hotcakes. You’ve furnished all the necessary ingredients. Wishing you much success!

  3. Wow, Mary– didn’t know that side of you – the deep dark side. Sounds like a very inventive, creative story!! When you said it was fun to write, did you mean because it was different from what you were used to, or because you injected humor in a thriller? Just curious. And I couldn’t get the trailer to work from my computer.. bummer. Wishing you great success Mary Nealy!!!

  4. I’m perfectly fine with the same author writing different genres – A good writer is a good writer in my book (although I understand not everyone agrees and you had some other good reasons lol). I love variety and am more than willing to give most things a try. I love dark so I am sure this is going to be a great read from a writer I’ve enjoyed!

  5. I’ve got other books in my computer, too.
    One is a beautiful sweet romance about a woman, almost a hermit, who lives in the Ozarks and grows roses and uses the scent to make magnificent candles.

    Then a city boy move onto her mountain with plans to build himself a ‘getaway cabin’ that’s a mansion that will tear the heart out of her ozark mountain home.

    The book begins when his car falls off the mountain onto her rose garden.

    No one wants to publish that either and it’s a lovely book!!!!!

  6. I enjoy books as long as I know that It has a happy ending… at times I get into the mood for some suspense reading… It is great finding authors that have other genres in another name… just gives me more to enjoy!

  7. Wow, what a switch. I agree a bit with reason #1, but it also has its drawbacks. I think of Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle and yes, I know it is all the same person. However, as a reader, if I like an author in one genre, I will most likely like them in another. Don’t make it too hard to find you in those other personas. I understand the reasoning when the new genre is such a leap from that for which you are known. I know many (little old ladies – I did senior delivery for the library) that love your historical westerns but would not want anything to do with the suspense books. I can see consumers getting upset when picking up a book by a favorite historical christian fiction author and finding vampires instead.

    I understand the dilemma an author faces and the pressures a publisher can apply. I guess there needs to be a statement on the bio section in the book stating the author writes in these other genre under these names. I know Karen Kay did a name change for books that are still in her genre, just a different location, and I know of a couple others that have changed lately. It does confuse us. If we like you, we will follow.

    I love the sound of the Ozark rose book. Spooky trailer. It is perfect.

  8. Wow, Mary, how I would have loved talking to you, but found out too late!

    The book sounds great! Will be looking for it!

  9. Congrats, Mary! You’re really thinking outside the box, or boots as sit were. I think it’s good to stretch genres, I do. Somewhere in me there’s a romantic comedy LOL. Since I already HAVE the same name as a porn star, my standard advice to any newbie writer is Google Your Pen Name. Good post. oxoxox

  10. Thanks for trying Connie. I didn’t get it that I could have people phone in but I needed to TELL THEM. Duh. Until the very last minute. Sorry.
    The interview is supposed to be available to download very soon.

  11. All the best with the new book Mary.
    I’m as yet unpublished, but I have a pen name, simply because my real name – Sue McMillan – is so common. Google sure is a helpful tool. I would pick a different name if I wrote in a different genre too.

  12. Sorry, Mary, I missed you early, now catching you late. Your new book sounds delicious.
    I write under my real name. But I have used a pseudonym, once when I finished a series for a male author who actually died in mid book (talk about ghost writing). And again when my first book for a new publisher was a clunker but they loved the second one, so they wanted to promote me as a hot new author. Alas, the month that book came out they lost their backing and had to shut down. So you can add two more reasons to your list. Great blog. I am smiling.

  13. I can hardly wait to read Ten Plagues. I imagine I’ll keep expectin’ to see a cowboy appear on the page, but wait…that’s Mary Connealy, NOT Mary Nealy! I got it! 😀

    I look forward to reading Ten Plaques. Would love to win a copy!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  14. Hey, Mary! Looks awesome. I actually love this kind of suspense book. I’m sure it’s excellent and I can’t wait to read it! Blessings, Diane

  15. Wow this book sounds great, I can’t wait to read it! I have read 9 of your books and I’m currently reading Wildflower Bride. I have loved them all and I have high hopes for this book. I love when authors write several genres cause if they are good with one they are bound to excel with another. It also gives you a good book to read no matter what genre you are in the mood for! God Bless!

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