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How does a penname affect you reading a story?


We have discussed many factors relating to why a reader reads a story.

It occurred to me when looking a the New Stories page, that some pennames make me reluctant to read the story. Pennames like 'Donna the Dog Lover' are a turn off to me.

What are your thoughts about a pennames and your decision to read the author's story?

awnlee jawking


Pennames like 'Donna the Dog Lover' are a turn off to me.

On the other hand, aficionados of doggyrotica will probably dive into her stories without reading the blurb or story codes.

By contrast, a penname like REP will probably attract insurance salesmen or door-to-door hawkers ;)


Replies:   REP
Ernest Bywater

The names don't affect me at all, except in that if I find a good story by an author I'm likely to have a closer look at the other stories by the same author, whatever the name is. Conversely, if I find a story that I absolutely hate how they write or something they did (i.e. not have all the codes in at the start) then I'm likely to avoid all of their stories after that.


@awnlee jawking

I don't totally exclude the possibility of reading the author's stories if I'm turned off by their penname.


As a reader I look at the description and title. The writers name is last thing I look at.

Replies:   Dominions Son

My thoughts are similar to REP. If a pen name is related to an activity that is a turn-off for me, and I see the story description matches the pen name, I will skim right past the story and future stories by the same author. If perhaps that same author later writes different types of stories, i may never skim slow enough to notice. (Author hurts his/her chance to expand audience.)

On the other hand, a pen name indicating anything else has little effect on me. Perhaps if someone used "romance" or "western" in a pen name, i might give a longer look at story descriptions. But that advantage will be lost if a new story is about "erotic dog lover" :-)


Unless it's something like 'goat humper409' or 'poochs for love', it will have no bearing on me.



When I see Master or submissive I just skim right by. Of course I rarely see them since their stories usually run afoul of my filters but when they do that's as far as I read. Probably unenlightened and I might have missed a story or two worth reading, but probably not.

Dominions Son


I am typically looking for certain kinds of stories, so I frequently look at the codes first, then the description. I barely pay any attention to either the title or the author before reading a story.

Replies:   sunseeker

@Dominions Son

yes codes are another thing I look at,,,

Replies:   Dominions Son

What the author calls them self only becomes a factor once I have identified that author's style / content. If it is predominantly content that I find offensive I usually just add that author to my block list.

Switch Blayde


What are your thoughts about a pennames

On sites like SOL, it doesn't matter. But for a novel for sale, I believe it does (hence changing Switch Blayde to S. W. Blayde for my novels).

Dominions Son


yes codes are another thing I look at,,,

For me, they aren't just another thing I look at, they are what I look at first.



What are your thoughts about a pennames and your decision to read the author's story?

Personally if I found my pen name affected my decision to read another author's story, I'd seriously consider changing my pen name... :)


Personally, it doesn't have any affect. He'll, half the time I read before I even look to see who wrote it. Unless it's Lubrican (still love me some BOB)


Most names are generic and don't affect me at all (except that there are names I know because I like their stories).

Some are genre specific, which the example of Donna the Dog Lover is. Those might either make me give the story a closer look than I would normally have, or they migh turn me away from a story if I don't like the genre. In my case, as I read the description and codes, that doesn't make a difference - I wouldn't have read the story in any case.

I think this might be an advantage to the author. I don't want to open the can of works called 'voting', but I do believe there are people who read a story without reading the description or tags, and when they don't like the topic 1-bomb it. If those are kept away, that's good for the author. And anyone turned of by the pen name wouldn't have read a story that revolves around having an intimate relationship with your dog in any case. Win-Win.

Now if said author writes stories without dogs in it, I'm sure she would create a new pen name for that. I agree that otherwise there might be negative effects.

Crumbly Writer

Typically, the most common use of alternate pen names is when one story's content will sour readers on your work. Thus if someone writes action adventures, and then decides to write a romance, they'll typically use a separate name, so the two sets of fans won't overlaps.

I did that for my one gay erotica story, which served as a tribute to my brother, as it focused on a core theme of his which isn't heard much anymore. I didn't do it when I crossed over from Sci-Fi to write a mystery novel, but the newer genre attracted additional fans who then sought out my older SF stories as well.

Obviously, if you're writing romance, you typically pick a feminine name, while for action adventures or gumshoe stories you stick with short masculine names (like Quirk Jones, or Banger McGee).

If anyone wants to expand their range, have at it, but don't expect your followers to eagerly follow you down a particular rat hole if it differs from your other works substantially.



Pennames like 'Donna the Dog Lover' are a turn off to me.

In my personal case after I read the descriptions and tags of the stories produced under that pen name I put it on my Author Exclusion List.

If I were to chose between two stories with the same codes and similar descriptions, I would first read the one that had an author that has other stories I enjoyed.

When a story is in the process of being posted I am more likely to give a vote after the first chapter when I am familiar and enjoy the works of the author.



"Donna The Dog Lover" is one of the many nyms of RWMoranUSMCRet, as far as I can see it is used for his K9 stories.
I don't have it on my explicit blacklist but still ignore anything which comes out under that label.

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