Pen names - the saviour of the serious writer

If I had to spend all my time writing as Kay Sexton I would be:

(a) very poor
(b) unbearably depressed.

Literary fiction provides a living for very few writers. Rejection is not just commonplace, it's almost universal, by which I mean that almost every literary fiction writer will receive around a dozen rejections for everything they send out. Some stories may receive forty or fifty rejections. Some may never get published. When they do you can hope to make, on average, £50 - £150, or $80 - $400 (American journals pay better) for a story that you may have spent six months crafting.

It's masochistic lunacy.

Without my additional personas - one for science fiction and one for erotica - I would starve. But they are not just ways to pay the bills. I love writing science fiction: I adore world-building and writing about new technology. And I take my erotica very seriously. I believe that women have a right and a responsibility to write about the kind of sex they wish for and value: to change the landscape of sex writing so that it strengthens and empowers women and reflects their experiences in positive and powerful narratives.

I would write erotica and science fiction regardless of the need to pay the bills: it just so happens that both genres pay better than literary fiction.

If you want to be a writer - think about what alternative writing skills you have, create a persona to go with them and open yourself to a new literary adventure.