I was recently asked, by an agent I was speaking with, whether or not I'd be willing to use a pseudonym to sell future books. In particular, books that are not part of the Ray Sharp - now the Wen Lei Yue - series.
It's not that my books are box office poison. Well, not exactly. I, like several other authors I know, do fall into the dreaded category of "great reviews - mediocre to lousy sales." That's not exactly a category with much curb appeal for publishers.
Publishers want "great reviews - great sales." They're even happy with just plain "great sales" no matter what the reviews. They are, after all, in business to make money. Most publishers would rather take a chance on a new writer, than try to break out an established writer with a less than stellar sales record. Especially if it's in a new genre, or with a new series, or something like that.
I happen to like my name. I'm proud of what I write and want to be able to write it under my own name. But then, I'm not so proud that I'm willing to miss out on publishing opportunities.
Thus the pseudonym.
It won't do to simply open a phonebook at random, plunk down a fingertip and there you've got it. Among other things, I don't even have any phonebooks anymore. I've tossed them all out. I use my computer for that.
I want a pseudonym that rolls easily off the tongue. I want one without too many syllables. I want one that no one else is using and that isn't too close to some other author's name. (No Harry Melville or Marcy Twain for me.) And I want one that I can still get the domain name for, preferably a dot com.
So I've come up with one. I'm not going to tell you what it is. I'm going to let you guess.
The first person who guesses correctly wins their choice of a signed hardback copy of any of my books. I'll even give you a hint, a big hint: it's an anagram of my name. My whole legal name, by the way, is Eric Laurence Stone. It might be an anagram of all of that, or of any parts of that. That's for you to guess.
I like the pseudonym. But once one of you guesses what it is and wins this contest, there will be a new, standing offer. If anyone out there comes up with a pseudonym for me that I like better and that meets the criteria I stated earlier in this post - and I will be the sole, subjective judge of that - you will win a complete set of all five of my, so far, published books, in hardcover, signed by me.