I pride myself on my honesty and, for as much as is practicable given the world we currently live in, my openness. But I’ve been carrying a secret around with me since 2006.
I’ve been lying about my name all this time! It’s not REALLY Willsin. Go figure!
Okay, I’m being a tad silly there. But Willsin Rowe doesn’t really feel all that much like a pen name anymore. I’ve been him since 2006, as I mentioned. And everything Willsin says, does and thinks is essentially the real me. As Alfred Hitchcock reportedly said, “What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out?” Similarly for myself, and I’m sure for many other authors… what is Willsin but the real me distilled?
There is, however, a side-secret I’ve been carrying with me since early 2013. And it’s a side-secret which I’m in the process of revealing. Another pen name I operated under for a couple of years, and which is still out there a little.
The back story of it all is that, by the end of 2012, I’d seen very little action as Willsin Rowe. My books seemed well-written (to me, at least). I had friends and supporters and beta-readers and reviews. I just couldn’t find my niche. I was convinced the main issue was my gender, in combination with the genre I’d come to focus on; commercially-oriented erotic romance. It seemed to me few readers wanted to know what boys thought when it came to romantic nookie.
So I did what many others have done. I made a female pen name and put out a couple of stories. Neither title went particularly well on their own, although I put one of them in a e-rom comedy bundle and achieved some success that way (the bundle reached #34 overall on Amazon, and I technically achieved USA Today Bestselling Author status, as did every other author in that bundle).
Research- and results-wise, the jury was, essentially, out. I had achieved basically exactly the same level of success (on my own, not counting the bundle) as a girl that I had as a dude. Hence, it rammed home to me some of the essentials. That it was, as it always had been, my marketing, advertising and promo skills which were my biggest weakness.
Willsin Rowe was set up to write “erotica with a touch of grit” (my original tagline). As I’ve written in here before, it was through the Curvy Girl Romance group on Facebook that I had my epiphany, and realised what I wanted to do more than anything was to write curvy/plus size/BBW erotic romance, from the perspective of a man who adores curves. And I feel I achieve this well, even when I write in first-person female.
This, of course, gave me a dilemma. If Willsin was suddenly writing the more romantic stuff, then what was my female name supposed to do? The answer? Die slowly.
I unpublished her books in about May this year from memory. Last week, I wiped her off Facebook. She’s still out there on Amazon because she has some co-written books.
I’m still hedging as to whether I’ll actively reveal her name. But people are welcome to guess. And if they guess correctly, I might just admit it!