This might be a difficult to understand question but I will try my best to make myself clear.
I am wondering the opinion of other authors about the use of not just a pen name but essentially a different persona for who you are as an author.
I don’t mean pretending to be someone you are not while convincing readers you really are (such as pretending to be a person of color or a different gender or sexual identity), I mean creating a persona and making it clear thats what you did.
Let me give an example.
An author who writes stories and claims they are told those stories by the ghosts of those who lived them. But in their bio they play into the idea of just being a voice rather than the creator.
An author who says they are a traveler through time and space, collecting the tales of those they come across.
Basically, what I am asking is if creating a clear character of your pen name is something that readers might respond well to or if they would be more likely to find it gimmicky or forced?
I think it’s fun to have some theming. For example, I play into the fact that I call my subscription the “Magician’s Club” and at the end of each newsletter, I make up something that happened at the headquarters (obviously fake, like a tiger infestation).
That said, I think most people who join a subscription are doing it to get better access to you as the author and they value authenticity.
So keep it fun but allow you’re authentic self to shine through? That’s my approach, at least.
It sounds to me like you want to pull off a Pittacus Lore type of thing? Or Lemony Snicket?
Heck, my pseudonym’s persona here is Faerie Godmother. IRL, the fae thing is a metaphor. Online? I’m playing into all of the tropes in fairy lore.
I am going for Mercurial Dragon (my LLC) being a library, and that I am the reluctant narrator hidden away in a back room behind magical warding, while the pen names I use are my curators. They look through the stories I write and share them with the world. I want to have small notes from them in the beginning of each story like a stamp of approval… I just wasn’t sure if it would come across to the average reader as ridiculous.
The average reader might find the concept ridiculous, but do you really care about the average reader? To me, it sounds like a fun creative device that would be delightful to read, and it gives you the option of advancing a meta plot for you, the Mercurial Dragon, to be getting up to something over the course of all the stories you write - encouraging readers to at least try to give all of your stories a look, at least the notes in the beginning.
There’s definitely a niche for this in the fantasy genre that wouldn’t necessarily make sense to deliver as individual books to purchase, which wouldn’t be feasible for most readers, but makes better financial sense with a subscription that gives them access to your entire catalog.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t also sell your stories individually. I’d just have a “publisher’s note” at the end of each story letting your fans know that they can access all of the notes about the dragon in the back room on Ream.
It’s not a concept I fancy, but there’s a niche for it. Some people really like the immersive experience.