Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cheryl C. Malandrinos Shares Her Costly Pen Name Experience

I'm happy to host the multi-talented Cheryl  C. Malandrinos at Book Beat Babes today, where she shares with us her pen name experience. Morgan Mandel

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Cheryl has written numerous articles on time management and organization for writers. She is also the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness, a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger. Cheryl also writes under the name of C. C. Gevry. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.

Visit Cheryl online at

The Costly Pen Name
by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

As a virtual book tour coordinator, I give marketing my own writing a fair amount of thought. For me, writing is as much a business as it is a creative outlet. Having released Little Shepherd in 2010, when A Christmas Kindness was contracted, I opted to use a pen name. Many writing friends asked why. I thought I had a good answer. The first book was a Christian title, but the second wasn’t.

So, I invested in a second website and opened social media accounts under my pen name. It soon became apparent how difficult it would be to properly build a platform for my pseudonym.
The first challenge is that I had been writing under my actual name for years through blogging, numerous articles for an online magazine, and my first book. The pen name had no history. Talk about starting back at square one. Lack of time didn’t help. I found myself spending what little time I had focusing on what I wrote under my real name rather than seeking opportunities to spread the news about a book that was still a year from being published. The simple act of having to log out of one Facebook or Twitter account to use the pen name’s social media accounts became cumbersome. My followers didn’t increase the way I wanted them to because I only used those accounts about 10% of the time I was online.

Almost a year after my second book was published, I had an expensive epiphany. Why couldn’t A Christmas Kindness be published under my actual name? Both books are set during Christmas and both books have a message to share with readers. Though A Christmas Kindness is not a Christian title, it shares values that would appeal to both secular and Christian markets. How could I have not seen that earlier? Darn hindsight.

When the publisher offered authors a chance to have their printed books formatted for digital, I decided to have A Christmas Kindness totally reformatted using my actual name. The printed version will follow in the future, but both reformats cost me money I wouldn’t have spent if I had more carefully considered using a pen name in the first place.

Agent Janet Kobobel Grant, founder of Books & Such Literary Management, wrote an excellent blog article that discussed reasons why writers might want to use a pen name and why pen names don’t always work. You can find it at Just don’t scroll down to the comments where I openly admit (like I do here) that my use of a nom de plume falls into the latter category. There’s only so much humiliation I can take in one day.

About Cheryl's Little Shepherd Book:

Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. Can he trust the miracle of Christmas to keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Visit Cheryl online at
Please leave a comment to welcome Cheryl C. Malandrinos to Book Beat Babes.


  1. Welcome to Book Beat Babes, Cheryl. For a while, I was kicking around the idea of picking another pen name when I wrote in a different genre, but I got so much feedback not to, that I'm keeping the same pen name.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Thanks Morgan. I appreciate you letting me chat about something that has been on my mind for a while now. It was a tough lesson to learn, but at least now I know.

  3. I do use a pen name, of sorts, for some of my work. I write for adults and for young adults. To differentiate the two, the adult books are written under my married name, Lynn McMonigal, while the the YA books are written under my maiden name, Lynn McFall. I do this more for myself than for my readers: it helps me to keep my audience in mind as I am writing. Lynn McFall had a lot of growing up to do, so some mistakes and "younger" language are acceptable, while Lynn McMonigal is, supposedly, all grown up and her books should reflect that.

    So I guess maybe it is about the readers after all....

  4. Hi Cheryl,

    Welcome to Book Beat Babes! I write under a pseudonym, too, just to keep my 'real' life separate from my writing life. But as time goes on, the two do seem to be merging. Mostly because, as you said, I don't have time to keep up with two different personalities on social media...or anywhere!

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, ladies. I feel the pen name makes sense for you, Lynn, because you're writing for different markets. Debra, if I had started out with a pen name instead of using my married name for one book and the pen name for the other, maybe it would have been more successful.

    Wishing you ladies a wonderful holiday season.

  6. Hi Cheryl ~
    Welcome to BBB. I too have been struggling on adding a pen name. I write under DL Larson in my historical and have considered altering that a bit for my sci-fi, but after reading this, I'm not so sure. Guess time will tell. Thanks for the thought provoking blog.
    DL Larson

  7. Thanks for the comments, Deb. For me, it boils down mostly to time. There simply isn't enough of it. If I had this idea at the beginning when I first started writing and had made a point to build up an audience for the pen name, it would be less time consuming now. And in my case, the books were similar enough that it made no sense. I can't believe I didn't see that at the time.