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Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Should You Use a Pen Name If You SelfPublish

  • By Yuwanda Black
  • Published 02/24/2012
  • Writing

I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993 and have been writing and selling ebooks online since 2004. Megasites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble have revolutionized the self-publishing industry, making it easier than ever for wannabe authors to make money selling ebooks online without ever involving an outside entity like an agent or publisher. With so many jumping into the self-publishing waters, one of the issues some confront is whether or not to use their own name, or go by a pen name. Why I Never Used a Pen Name Early in My Career as a Self-Publisher to Sell Ebooks Online As mentioned above, I self-published my first ebook in 2004. Back then, it never occurred to me to use a pen name because I was writing career-oriented material (freelance writing, “how to” small business ebooks) that was building the brand of my freelance writing company. Hence, I wanted my publications to be associated with me / my firm. Why Not Using a Pen Name Paid Off Handsomely for Me for Years as a Self-Publisher Until 2011, all of my ebooks were on/about freelancing, internet marketing and small business, so I never had a need to “hide” my identity, so to speak. As I published more titles in these niches, I branded myself. My name and the titles I’ve published could (can) found all over the web. A simple Google search is all you need to find them.

The fact that I’ve been around so long and have published a ton of ebooks in tightly focused niches is paying off in spades almost 20 years later. Hen

ce, I’m glad that it never occurred to me to use a pen name early in my career. Branding — this is a major factor to keep in mind if you want to consistently make money selling ebooks years down the line. Writing and Selling Ebooks Online Advice: When You Might Want to Consider Using a Pen Name In 2011, I wrote a relationship ebook which I published under a pen name. The main reason I decided to do so is that I didn’t want who I’ve come to be known as an ebook author (ie, a freelance writing/small business/SEO writing “guru/teacher”) to be mixed in any way with a different genre. As an aside, this little relationship ebook is consistently one of my best sellers on Amazon. I don’t sell it from my site or any other outlet (as of this writing). This was refreshing to see because it proves that even without “name brand” recognition, an ebook can do well if it’s well written and on a topic people want to know about. Selling Ebooks Online? How to Determine When to Use a Pen Name If you decide to start writing and selling ebooks online, only you can decide what is right for you. The one piece of advice I’d give is to have a long-range plan for your self-publishing career, eg, what niche(s)/genre(s) do you want to write in/on; how many ebooks do you want to publish, for example, in a year; how will you market them; what are your sales projections; etc.

Like any other business, writing and selling ebooks online is just that – a business. If you treat it like one from day one – making every decision with a long-range view in mind — you’ll vastly increase your chance of self-publishing success.


Yuwanda Black has self-published over 50 ebooks. Get free articles for reprint at YuwandaBlack.com. Content covers a wide variety of topics, eg, selling ebooks online, freelance writing, internet marketing, etc. Get a free ebook that explains how she lives internationally and has made her living completely online since 2007 when you subscribe.

by Yuwanda Black



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