Many authors today, particularly those writing mystery/suspense or romance write different genres under different names. (Think Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kate Emerson.) And, a trend that is likely to increase, publishers often want to “start a new name,” hoping for more reviews, higher pre-orders, and more interest than if using the name on a previous series.
That’s what happened to me when, 18 months ago, Crooked Lane Publishing asked me to write a new Maine mystery series. All my other books – 22 of them – for adults and for children – were written under “Lea Wait.” A new name?
Okay. I agreed. Certainly, many of my friends were choosing new names. How often do you have the chance to do that? Tired of always being on the bottom shelf in bookstores, I chose a name which would fall in the middle of the alphabet. Cornelia Kidd was also the maiden name of my paternal grandmother, so it had a family history. My editor agreed. She also agreed that my pseudonym would not have to be a secret, so my fans could (we both hoped) find my new series.
When I handed in the manuscript, I made sure that my acknowledgments at the end of the book are signed “Lea Wait,” and all my “Lea Wait Books” are listed.
I set up a Facebook page for “Lea Wait/Cornelia Kidd” and started posting both on it and on my Lea Wait page, explaining why I would soon have two names. I made sure I had the rights to www.CorneliaKidd.com, although I linked it to my usual website, www.leawait.com I also reserved a gmail address for Cornelia Kidd.
Whenever I spoke at a library or conference, I mentioned both names. By the time Malice Domestic rolled around last month I was handing out postcards for Death and a Pot of Chowder headlined, “Love USA Today best-seller Lea Wait’s mysteries? Don’t miss the exciting debut of the Maine Murder Mystery series, written under her pseudonym, Cornelia Kidd.”
(Fans on my snail mail promotion list receive postcards when I have a new book published; those on my email promotion list get a short newsletter/announcement.)
I’m hoping that many of my fans continue reading the two series they already know – and that they’ll check out Cornelia Kidd’s books, too. It’s a little early to tell. But I’m already planning to sign books in my new series “Cornelia Kidd, AKA Lea Wait.” After all – can’t hurt!