Using a Pseudonym on a Book

When writing a book, there are so many variables you have to think about.  Do you want to publish it as a paperback or hardcover? What size do you want to make the book? Four inches by 6 inches, 5.5 inches by 8 inches? If it is a children’s book do you want to go bigger to make the illustrations larger for the children to see and easier for them to hold the book?  What do you want the cover to look like? Are you looking for a theme or do you have it digitally created? If you are doing a children’s book, who do you want to use as an illustrator? Do you want to go with watercolor illustrations or digitally mastered? What do you want to use for your name as an author? So many decisions are made when working on a book.

The Silver Heart was written back in the 1990’s on an old computer that only gave you the option to save your work on a floppy disk. The screen was green, and there was no such thing as Microsoft Word to create the book on. You typed and printed the book on your dot matrix printer.  Nothing special, but it got the job done. The Silver Heart was printed and sent to several publishers, and it came back the same each time… make the book into a sequel with two stories. I put the book and all the floppy disks away and refused to change the storyline just to get it published. I believed in the book and was going to stand firm on those beliefs.

You see I had given the book to several friends, and each one of them gave me the same response. They loved it. Now with that being said they also told me they either loved the way I wrote the story, they hated me, or they cried. This may sound odd for the author, but when I was working on the revisions I even teared up, and I knew the story and the ending.  LOL

Last fall I pulled the manuscript out of the archives when I found the copy I had mailed to myself back in the 90’s. Mailing a copy to yourself was called the poor man’s copyright back then, and most people were doing that, me included. I sat down on the chair in my office and just looked at the envelope. The same feelings I had about the book came back to me, and I went searching for the hard copies and floppy disks. I had printed it several times and put the copies in three-ring notebooks. The box of floppy disks was pretty much useless because who has a computer that will read them anymore and they were not in Microsoft Word so not sure how the computer would react to the content. I gave a copy to my friend Kelly and asked her if she was interested in reading it and letting me know what she thought. Kel told me she thought I should go for it; the book was good.

As I sat in my office with my assistant at the time, Aubrey Williams, I looked at the three-ring notebook in the bookcase. I talked to Aubrey about it, and the decision was made she would retype the entire book into Microsoft Word, updating to 2014. Once the book was rewritten, I went through the book and made changes in the story, only a few. I added more details to the story, to bring the reader more clarity of the situation or feel the room they were standing in with the character. The characters were strong and established, you knew who they were and where they belonged in the story, so I left that alone.

I sent the book to Ann Westlake, my editor in Canada. I asked her opinion on the book. After a few phone calls back and forth the decision was made to edit the book. The next decision to be made was if I wanted the book edited as a short romance novel, one you would purchase off the box store shelf, or did I want to put the time into this and make it a novel that could be the best. That was an easy answer. I don’t like to do anything second best. If I am going to take on a project like this, I am going to do it right. My new assistant, Jessica Wells, was given the changes from my editor, and we both worked on the book, making all the changes Ann found. Each time we sent it back, Ann called me, and we would talk about the direction of the book and how I wanted to handle a storyline and did I want to change it or expand upon it.

My publisher, James Paul Publishing, asked me how I wanted the front cover designed. I knew how the cover needed to look. I contacted a graphic designer and sent her a picture of my daughter and the horse in the story.  I filled her in on the background I was looking for, the font I wanted to be used and what I wanted for the front and back cover. The Silver Heart was written to include people who were in my life at the time, animals included. Just their names were used, not their actual stories. After I had put the last period in the manuscript, I joked with my daughter about putting her on the front cover. We laughed about it, but I didn’t forget that conversation. So she was put on the front cover as the main character.

The final decision on the book was the author title. Many years ago, when I was writing this book, Perry Luhn and I worked together. We talked about the book and my pseudonym as an author. Several names were thrown out, and Samantha Sheridan became my pseudonym. Why use a pseudonym? There are several reasons an author uses another name. One being they have books published in different genres and second to keep some privacy to their normal life. I also had two reasons.  I used a pseudonym on The Silver Heart because of the publication of my children’s book which is a different genre and second because of my affiliation with the entertainment and marketing business. I wanted to keep the two businesses as separate as I could.

When I wrote The Silver Heart, it wasn’t written with the intention of being a big time author or seeking out fame. I wrote the book with all the love I had for the story and the characters.  I never did an outline for the manuscript; I just started to type one word at a time.  I had no idea where the story was going to go or how it would end. There are just stories that are meant to be written and loved by their readers.  I hope this is one of those books, one that is timeless and captures the hearts of the readers.

Samantha Sheridan

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