How to Publish a Book Anonymously
I have written an erotic novel that is pretty hard-core. I want to publish it, and promote it, but I do NOT want my family and friends finding out. What can I do?
– Anonymous (obviously!)
I’m not an attorney and this isn’t legal advice.
That said, I certainly understand your concern. Many authors have very valid reasons for publishing a book anonymously.
Your spicy book might sell quite well. After all, erotic novels can make a lot of money in ebook format. That’s because people can hide behind a computer screen or ebook reading device when reading that genre, even in public. Of course, print book sales might be brisk, too. Look what happened to Fifty Shades of Grey!
But, how do you prevent your boss, your parents, your kids, your spouse, or (Heaven forbid!) Grandma from finding out about your naughty literary talents?
Here’s a list of things that will make you vulnerable to discovery:
- Your name
- Your computer
- Your manuscript and cover files
- Your wifi connection
- Your cell phone
- Your email account
- Your online account with your publisher
- Your bank account
- Human error
First, use a pseudonym that isn’t even remotely similar to your real name. You’d be surprised how many authors choose a pseudonym that is almost identical to their real name. That’s a mistake. One author we recently published choose a name that was only one letter off from her real one. I tried in vain to talk her out of it but she wouldn’t listen.
Your primary mode of defense is a good password on your computer. That’s where most of your vulnerability will be. And, be sure to change it often. You should also not share your computer with anyone. Period.
YOUR MANUSCRIPT AND COVER FILES
You should also password protect the files on which your manuscript exists. That includes the cover and interior files, and any notes/research you’ve performed.
YOUR WIFI CONNECTION
If you use your boss’s wifi when accessing the Internet from your personal (or business) computer, your activity can be
tracked. Emails, website visits, and even file transfers can be grabbed and reviewed.
YOUR CELL PHONE
If you use your boss’s wifi, or even your home wifi, when using your cell phone, that could also put you at risk. Your activity can be tracked there as well. So, if you’re making notes about your novel, or sending/receiving emails from your publisher using wifi that’s accessible by others, you might get caught.
Do you have an online email account or do you download and answer email on your computer? Both are vulnerable. Set up a password to access your email, whether online or off, and change it often.
YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNT WITH YOUR PUBLISHER
Setting up an online account with a publisher can be even trickier. What if they email you and someone sees that? What if the page pops up when your spouse or child accesses your computer? (Remember, you’re not supposed to be letting other people use your computer!) Cleaning out your browser history daily is a good idea. Also, be aware of your surroundings. Be very careful about working on your book activities if someone might be walking behind you.
YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
And, what about those royalty payments? Will you need a Paypal account or a completely different bank account? How are you going to explain that extra money coming in? I’m not saying you shouldn’t contribute your royalties to your household’s income. I’m just saying that, if extra money starts coming in, you’ll need to find a way to explain that. This is just another thing you should consider before launching your erotic writing career.
Probably the biggest risk to your identity being exposed is simple human error. Accidentally typing your real name when you meant to sign off as your pseudonym, and clicking “send” too fast, can blow your cover. I once posted a comment on a website using my real name instead of my pseudonym. Luckily, the website owner fixed it after she received my frantic message. She also admonished me to be more careful. Now, I count to three, and check everything, before I post or email anything.
If you ever plan to run for political office, I strongly suggest you try to satisfy your spicy literary urges with soft romance instead of erotica. If you have an opponent with lots of money, they may eventually uncover things about your business dealings. Most authors, however, don’t run for office.
None of this advice is full-proof. Your cover could still be blown. If it is, here’s my recommendation. Just own it. Admit your literary talents, and remind them that many erotic authors can and DO make money writing dirt. It’s a very popular genre.
I have published erotica in the past and it does indeed sell very well. However, I’ve never needed to hide my activities. Everyone I know personally was not at all surprised when I told them. One of our adult children stumbled upon one of my books one time, written under a pseudonym.
The response? “Oh, this MUST be you. Geez, Mom…”
If you start promoting your a book online, through social media and news sites, you’re opening yourself up to even more risk. But, if you don’t promote your book, it’s not going to sell. Only you can decide if the risk is worth it.
Pant! Pant!! Electronic AND Audio Editions of an Erotic Novel? Yes! Oh, Yes!! by Ralph Greco, Jr.
Confessions of a Rejected Romance Writer by Shirley Byers Lalonde
BookLocker.com welcomes authors using pseudonyms!
Angela Hoy lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, BookLocker.com, and AbuzzPress, and the author of 19 books. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com.
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