Hey, Writer, if That’s Your Real Name

So, you’re out there and you’re frowning at my blog – yeah, I can see you. You didn’t know that monitor was two way and powered with narrativium? – and going “okay, Sarah, what’s with all the different series and different names? I know that notorious criminals and people with multiple personality disorder use different names, but why you? And what’s with all the series? And, by the way, when are you going to update your website, so I don’t have to stumble around in the dark looking for your series in order?”

I’ll start with the last question first: renovations are ongoing. Only I’ve come to the conclusion I need a complete redesign. So, I’m building another site, from scratch, in the “invisible pages” of the site, and keeping it there until I can bring it all on line with a bang. Also, hopefully with a forum, which hopefully will have chat but no bangs, unless it’s New Years or something.

Now the series. Well… I didn’t set out to write multiple series. Heck, I didn’t set out to write multiple genres. I started out to write science fiction. To be exact, I was going to write space opera and maybe some historical, high brow, incredibly involuted fantasy. People were going to swoon at my brilliance for the fantasy and push cash at me for the space opera. I was going to have someone to do the cleaning and laundry for me and I could spend all my free time with the kids and Dan. And we’d have time and money to travel. Oh, yeah, and for purely morale purposes, I would have a cute male secretary who made a killer cup of tea. (Yes, I DO love my husband dearly, but I’m allowed eye candy.)

As you can probably guess… things went weird. First of all, I still don’t have household help. Or a cute male secretary. It also took me decades to publish. And on the way there I wrote eight books, two of which are now published in rewritten versions, and one of which I now know how to rewrite (it’s actually a trilogy). It is patiently waiting its turn. The other five are just in a world that’s not workable.

Anyway, in those thirteen or so years I was writing mostly for myself, I had to keep myself amused. So the Space Opera morphed into odd fantasy. And the odd fantasy begat other odd fantasy. And then I wrote historical and mystery and… I actually have a YA space opera with telepathic cats outlined somewhere.

And then I sold. And then when that series didn’t do so well, I sold the Musketeers. And then there was the historical. And, oh, yeah, the shifter’s fantasy. And then a proposal for an historic fantasy series sent out years before, sold. And then another mystery. And then I got attacked by a vampire series on the way from my art class.

If this sounds chaotic to you, it is. Yeah part of it is “market driven” to the extent that I tend to finish series that sell. But the other part is internal. You see, I trained myself to have ideas, and now I can’t stop having them. (Yes, it totally is a matter of training. I’ll write about it tomorrow, probably.) I’m now at the point that I believe – as Leonardo de Quirm, Terry Pratchett’s character – that the ideas rain from the sky all the time. I have tried to fashion a tinfoil hat to keep them out, but my agent says it will overheat my brain, and besides she likes it that I have ideas. (She’s a cruel woman. Love her to pieces, but.. Really. She’s leaving me at the mercy of the ideas!)

As for why the multiple names – no, I’m not embarrassed by what I write. I do however have two types of names: open and closed. Two closed, so far, (one published, one yet unpublished.) for good and sufficient reason either on my part or that of the publishers. Mostly marketing reasons. No, I’m not embarrassed. Nor am I doing anything immoral or illegal. It’s just that sometimes it’s easier to market things that way.

In the open, I have four currently, and frankly if I had started out today, they would have a slightly different distribution. Why? Because I think on the net, it is very important to brand your name. More important than it used to be when it was all paperbooks. Why do I think that? Well… because the covers might be harder to see or read for genre signs. I have plenty of readers of mystery who would be upset if they bought an SF by accident, and readers of SF who will not read historical and… So, I’m trying to establish branding. BUT because of the timing of my realization, some series are already started/done under a name that would not be different. That’s life.

As for a list, here they are in order:

Sarah A. Hoyt

The Magical Shakespeare Biography (somewhat literary fantasy, with tons of Shakespeare quotes and allusions, it reimagines the early life of the bard and his experiences with the elves of nearby Arden woods.)

Ill Met By Moonlight; All Night Awake; Any Man So Daring

Status: out of print. No authorized e-versions. I’m working on getting those out.

Sarah A. Hoyt

Shifters Series (Urban Fantasy Sarah Style. ALMOST science fiction. Shape shifters, but no vampires, no general magic even if some stuff is a bit mystical, not too much dark stuff. Mysteries and diners, though. Set in Goldport, Colorado.)

Draw One In The Dark; Gentleman Takes A Chance; Upcoming: Noah’s Boy

Status: last I heard hard to obtain in paper, but both are available in ebooks from baen.com. Reasonably priced at that. I have heard rumors publisher plans to bring them out again at time of third which is started but not yet finished.

Sarah D’Almeida

Musketeer’s Mysteries and should the need arise, other historical mysteries. (Murder Mysteries solved by the three musketeers plus one.)

Death of A Musketeer; Musketeer’s Seamstress; Musketeer’s Apprentice; A Death In Gascony; Dying By The Sword and (possibly) upcoming Musketeer’s Confessor.

Status: Death of a Musketeer is being re-released by Naked Reader Press. For now it is available as an ebook. It will also soon be available POD. As for the others, their status is unclear. By the terms of my contract the rights should have reverted, however he house is being difficult. Proceed with care. If DOAM does well enough, I will write Musketeer’s Confessor for publication early next year.  The trailer for Death of a Musketeer is here.

Sarah A. Hoyt

Magical British Empire. (At the time of Charlemagne, in a magical parallel world, someone stole the eye of the goddess, which must be recovered. Victorian England. Dragons. Magic. Flying carpets. Trains and factories run on magic. Steam power and gas lights, too. Oh, yeah, romance. Africa. India. China.)

Heart of Light; Soul of Fire; Heart and Soul

Status: in print. No more planned – at least for now.

Elise Hyatt

Daring Finds Mysteries (A young woman struggles to survive and feed herself and her toddler, by refinishing furniture that, somehow, often has clues to crimes new and old. Sassy. Funny. Odd. Set in Goldport, Colorado.)

Dipped, Stripped and Dead; A French Polished Murder and upcoming A Fatal Stain.

Status: in print.

Sarah A. Hoyt

Space Opera (set along a future history populated with such things as artificial islands, wars between bioengineered and natural humans, biological solar collectors, feisty women and men who are not exactly slouches.)

Darkship Thieves and upcoming Darkship Renegades and POSSIBLY (not bought yet) A Few Good Men (in the same world/interacting, but not with characters from Darkships)

Status: in print and furiously underway. (Given my health giving me a break soon, should be done in a matter of days. At least DSR)

Sarah Marques

Blood Worlds (this is the first trilogy, but actually there is a contemporary series set in the same world. A world almost entirely taken over by vampires, in which humans must fight, gallantly, against overwhelming odds. And which vampire domination is often legalistic and undermines human societies from within. The first trilogy, just sold to Prime books, revisits the world of the three musketeers, where Richelieu is a vampire and with his guards rules the night, while the king rules the day. A noir feel and the sort of black humor where one laughs in the teeth of hell.)

Sword And Blood; Blood Royale; Rising Blood

Status: All are upcoming. The first one is delivered.

Any questions about the books or their content, or why some have a certain name? I’ll be glad to oblige with answers, if I can.

*Crossposted at Mad Genius Club*

6 thoughts on “Hey, Writer, if That’s Your Real Name

  1. Thank you for this post. I often wondered if I should use different names for different genres, but I guess it doesn’t matter until I am published.

  2. Wow Sarah, I had no idea you’d written that many books. I mean, yeah, I knew you’d written a few series, but jeez… No wonder I thought you were babbling incoherently the last time I saw you – you were in too many universes at once. 🙂

  3. I like that you write for so many genres, and it makes sense that you should have different pen names for your various series when they are all such different types of stories. I would take the same approach especially if I ever write for a genre that is such a polar opposite from my usual style, like YA, or romance.

  4. Rita,
    If I were you, I’d decide now. If I were starting now, I’d probably have gone Sarah D’Almeida for historical mysteries; Sarah Hoyt for sf and present day fantasy; Sarah Marques for historical fantasy. To be honest, I’d never have come up with Elise Hyatt, absent the publisher request I have a completely different name for contemporary mysteries. Probably — more likely — Sarah Silva, which is, at least, a family name. But you see the point.

  5. Jason,
    Usually by the end of a con I AM incoherent, but the last time you saw me, I was also very ill. Frankly, looking at that list scared me. I’m no longer surprised I get ill a lot, I’m surprised I’m not dead. Take in account since 2001 when the first book came out, I have moved houses, prepared one house for sale (took about a year of 8 hour days), homeschooled for a year, kept house so that no one has died suffocated under piles of cr*p, done a fair bit of promotion, written and published about 25 short stories and a short story collection. I’m tired!

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