Since I started self-publishing, I've been using my married name. Originally it was for poetry only through Turtleduck Press, a writer's alliance I am a member of. Then I determined that poetry was a really hard sell and harder to write, as I haven't been able to write anything new on a regular basis anymore.
Backing up to 2007...back when I started my blog, and my author website a few years back, I had planned on using a pen name. So I put the blog and my website as my pen name. No problem there.
When Turtleduck Press came along, I wanted to separate the self-pubbed stuff from my traditionally published stuff, hence using my married name.
Well, things have changed a bit for me. I plan on doing a lot more self-pubbing and some traditional (if I sell something, of course). The trad stuff would be under the pen name.
I feel kind of weird though. I have a section called "Writing as " and have all my self-pubbed stuff on there. And my internet presence is as the pen name, everywhere.
I thought about switching it all over, but the 3 self-pubbed books have my current web address on them, and that might get confusing, as would my web presence. I've also considered doing a separate website and web presence for my married name.
So I have no idea if I should change anything and if so, what exactly. I don't think I can afford to pay for two domains, which would prolly be the easiest way to do this. I think I'd rather have a website with a "writing as" section.
Feedback most welcome if I haven't completely confused you.
Even if I'm terrible at implementing much of this myself (executive function issues, plus the moment I try to sell anything - no matter how well I know the theory - my brain freezes up), I did work on the fringes of social media for a while, and learned a lot that is applicable to authors who want a web presence.
Although SEO (Search Engine Optimisation - the deliberate effort to make sure search engines not only find your site, but put it in the top spot or close to it when people search for "your" term - in this case, your name) often indicates something decent people will never stoop to do, that is not always the case. As long as all you are doing is helping people find what they are really looking for (and not using that as an excuse to make money off everyone who doesn't know enough to escape you), there is nothing inherently wrong with SEO. Indeed, even tactics Google frowns upon may not be ethically questionable in all cases - even though annoying the folks at the Googleplex is never something you want to do. But practical and ethical considerations are not always the same. All of this is getting around to saying: your real problem here is SEO.
However you set up the resulting site, what you want - and need - to do is make sure that people who want to look for you under the name you intend to publish under can find you. Using a "writing as" section or maintaining a separate site are both viable choices - what matters there is what you prefer, or what you're able to make work.
But (you knew there was a 'but' coming, didn't you? ) by publishing under more than one name, you are 'diluting' your SEO efforts, thus forcing yourself to do more than you would otherwise need to. I understand there are reasons why some authors choose to do this - and some of them have little choice, if circumstances (or publishers) push them in that direction. That doesn't change the fact it is a practice which will require more work if you are going to remain visible on the web under both names. (And if you aren't, you might as well throw away the name you're going to let die, and concentrate on the other one to begin with. Why waste time, effort, and money?)
You should also consider the impact of the name itself on your SEO efforts. If you publish as Smedley V. Rosewater, just about anyone searching for that name is going to find you very easily, because there aren't many of them around. If instead you publish as John Doe (I actually knew a Jonathan Doe, by the way) you'll be wasting most of your life doing SEO just so you might be able to be found by someone determined enough. (Okay, it may not be quite that bad, but you get the idea.) While you can't choose the name you were born with or acquired by marriage, if you're picking a pen name, make it one that will simplify your work. (And don't just consider names - if you choose a name that is also a word or even a vaguely possible misspelling of a word with SEO implications, you'll have to contend with that. Example: the very rare surname Nakler is nearly buried under the heap of results for pneumatic nailers, as the frenetic SEO gophers fear you might mistype nailer as nakler...)
I could go on forever, but at least this gives you a few things to think about.
Thank you, Wandering Author, for your thoughts. I was considering ditching the pen name, but I feel it might be too much work to undo all the work I did to make it visible. And ditching my married name and using the pen name will be confusing. But yeah, I understand what you're saying and SEO is something to consider.
Dean Wesley Smith gets so many questions about the use of pen names that he finally wrote a post about it. You might want to read it for other viewpoints. The comment section is also good. By the way, both Dean and his wife, Kris Kathryn Rusch, have open pen names (as opposed to secret).
Well, the secret pennames are secret because of contracts with traditional publishers (this happened with some of his media writing). One Dean mentioned is a Thriller penname that is an absolute secret that regularly makes it to the bestsellers lists. I have wondered about that, if it might possibly be more ghostwriting for another author or a 'house name?'
As he's legally not able to talk about it, I'll probably never know.
Might I point out that an additional domain name is anywhere from $5 to $15 bucks a year? You could point it to the same website, or a subsection of the website such as your writing as section. Otherwise, I agree with what the others have said.