Thursday, February 23, 2006

Identity Crisis

I'm throwing a question out here to see if someone can help me.

When you plan to use a pen name (for whatever reason), how do you call yourself when submitting query letters and partials?

For example, my real name is Lynn M., but say I want my Best Selling Novels to be under the pseudonym, Minnie Mouse. When I send a query letter to agents and/or publishers, do I sign myself "Lynn M." having made mention that I plan to use the name "Minnie Mouse" as my formal author's name? And then, on the partial manuscript you just know they are going to request, do I put "M. Mouse" on every page in standard manuscript format? I suppose the cover letter on top of the partial would be signed "Lynn M." but remind the reader that Lynn M. is also Minnie Mouse, right?

Or, throughout all of my dealings, do I call myself Minnie Mouse, adopt the identity of Minnie Mouse, get advance checks and royalty payments made out to Minnie Mouse (yeah, yeah, I know I'm getting waaayyy ahead of myself here), and just use Lynn M.'s address and phone number? Do I answer the phone "This is Minnie"? And do I have to tell someone official that I am, really, Minnie Mouse so they'll let me cash my checks?

I'm kind of confused on this one. I'm hoping someone out there can offer some insight.

Minnie and I thank you.


BeccaF said...

When you send the query or partial, you use your real name, because they will have to pay you as a real person, with a social security number and all.

On your manuscript you usually put all your real conttact info in one corner, then there is the Title, then your pen name

Alyssa said...

Alyssa and Lia also appreciate this information.


PBW said...

To second what beccaf said, you always use your legal name on correspondence with agents and publishers. They will not release this information to anyone.

On manuscripts and proposals, put a contact note on the title page in the upper right hand corner with your real name, address, voice number, FAX number if you have one, and your e-mail addy (though often unnecessary if your agent is submitting for you.) Use your pseudonym on your title page by line and in your page header.

You can add your pseudonym to your bank account; with most banks all you have to do is let them know you're an author and it's your working name (in my case, I have twelve different names on my account.) My publishers generally pay my agent first, however, and then my agent deducts her 15% and pays me the remainder with her check, issued to me under my legal name.