My Alter Ego

sarah-m-chenby Sarah M. Chen / S. Michele Chen

It’s tough establishing a new identity. I know a few of you Wranglers have pen names so you probably know what I’m talking about. My children’s chapter book, SUPERBEETLE, is scheduled to release next month on March 11. My publisher alerted me to this a couple weeks ago and it’s been a mad scramble to establish my alter ego’s social media presence in time for the launch. SUPERBEETLE has been in the works for a few years now. There have been hiccups along the way, things out of the publisher’s control, and at times I wasn’t sure if my children’s book about an eight-year-old girl visiting Taiwan for the first time would ever see the light of day. Now that it’s finally here I’m totally unprepared (but thrilled, of course!).

superbeetle-cover

I’d reserved a domain name a while back and had a “coming soon” page on the website. I figured I’d have plenty of time to update it but suddenly that time is now. I’ve spent the last couple weeks tinkering with it and now I think it’s finally ready for the public. Let me know what you think if you get a chance. SUPERBEETLE

The original Superbeetle

You may be wondering why I’m creating all this secret identity / alter ego nonsense. I posted about using a pen name a while back and received lots of feedback and good advice. I decided to go with S. Michele Chen as my pen name for this children’s book (my first initial and middle name). My previous works are all published under Sarah M. Chen and it’s definitely the darker side of crime fiction. As a friend of mine said, if she checked out my website for additional books to purchase for her children, she would be scared off by titles such as “Hardboiled: Dames and Sin” or “Fast Women and Neon Lights.” I don’t blame her, hence the alter ego.

I checked a few other writers who write dark crime fiction and children’s books / young adult. They have a separate presence on Twitter, Amazon, and two separate websites. I decided to do the same. It’s too hard to do another Facebook page. My own author FB page doesn’t get the reach I think it should (unless I boost it for $5) and I often neglect it for my own personal profile. So I scrapped the separate Superbeetle FB page.

But I think Twitter is important and a great way to gain followers I normally wouldn’t elsewhere. So I set up a new Superbeetle Twitter account today and it was a headache. Apparently if you link two Twitter accounts to the same phone number, the most recent account has full control which I didn’t like. My primary Twitter account is still going to be my original one so I had to figure out something else. I ended up putting Superbeetle under my mom’s cell phone number (she was very confused about what I was doing but went along with it – thanks, Mom!). Now I can truly keep everything separate (separate text alerts, etc.).

20170219_154028Then I set up my own Amazon author page for S. Michele Chen. In time, I’ll do GoodReads as well.

Next is researching how to approach schools, reviewers, libraries, and children’s bookstores. My publisher would love for me to speak to classrooms and I have no idea how to go about that. I have a couple contacts with children’s bookstores so it’d be great to do a signing / reading. At the very least, hopefully they’d carry my book.

I feel like a newbie author all over again which is both exhilarating and unnerving. Any other writers out there who had to go through this same process?

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img_2788S. Michele Chen is the author of SUPERBEETLE, a story of eight-year-old Hong who visits Taiwan for the first time. She’s excited to meet her grandmother…but there are two big problems: 1) There is a GIANT beetle in her grandmother’s bathtub. 2) Her grandmother’s market is on the brink of closing! Can she save her grandma’s market while staying away from this scary SUPERBEETLE? Hint: maybe the beetle isn’t so scary. Perfect for readers ages 6-9. https://superbeetlebook.com

superbeetle-cover

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21 Responses to My Alter Ego

  1. kathywaller says:

    Congratulations on your forthcoming book. I like your website–and that’s the best beetle I’ve ever seen. You must be excited. Good wishes for an easy transition to the new name. I trust we’ll hear more about Superbeetle?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Superbeetle will be making an appearance here again, I’m sure! 🙂 Thanks so much, Kathy, for your feedback and following my website. Very much appreciated! Yes, Leda did a fabulous job illustrating the beetle. I was hoping to do color illustrations throughout the book since he’s so very pretty but that’s too expensive. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

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  2. Congratulations Sarah,
    If I see you at a Superbeetle book signing do I address you as S.?
    It looks like a lot of work to have a AKA but so far your website & twitter account looks great.
    I would rethink the Facebook page. It might be the best place for kids to contact you or keep track of what’s happening with Superbeetle. You could post pictures of beetles and other things that might be kid friendly.
    Good luck with your new life.
    – Stephen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Stephen. I think I will introduce myself as Sarah. I thought about that. Maybe I will tweet about beetles and bugs. I could follow science and Taiwan-related accounts. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  3. Neva Bodin says:

    Networking everywhere will help get your name out. I was asked to read some of my children’s stories which aren’t even published at a school last year due to connections. I guess if I had one published, I would call the central school office, volunteer to read at the library for children, and not sure what else. I find myself invited to participate in many writing things due to belonging to state writing/poetry organization as well as other activities in town. I am a social animal so that helps. I too like your website and the beetle looks friendly with that satisfied smile on it’s face. Sounds like a very interesting story. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to make some children’s book connections like you have, that’s for sure. I will email schools. I think talking to local children’s librarians may help me too. Thanks for commenting and for the suggestions, Neva!

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  4. Mike Staton says:

    Hope your kid’s book sells well. Love the title. As to your pen name… Michele. What isn’t there to like — the feminine version of Mike. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mike! Yes, I didn’t think of it like that but you’re right. My mom spelled Michele wrong too with only one “l” but I kind of like it better that way. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  5. Congratulations and good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. pauldmarks says:

    Congratulations, Sarah! And I think it’s a good thing to establish a different presence for your children’s books. As the person said, if she went to your website and saw the darker stuff it would scare her off. And good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Paul! I agree, it’s for the best. It’s a pain to have two separate identities, although I’m finding out it can come in handy because now “Sarah M. Chen” can retweet and like all the tweets “Superbeetlebook” puts out on Twitter. I have one very loyal follower. Ha! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  7. Sarah, I’m SO EXCITED FOR YOU! As one who often visited schools with my dog and our children’s book, I can tell you it’s fun to interact with kids! I’d suggest talking with different schools and/or the district, but the district has so many hoops to jump through, you might start with a school or two first and they can direct you on the protocol. Children’s Book Week takes place early May — a great time to make those classroom and library visits. I also think you should have a separate Facebook page — more kids are on Facebook than Twitter and yes, it’s the parents and grandparents who buy books, but they also might be on FB more looking at author pages. Having the name of your book instead of your name might be easier, too — and there are children’s books Facebook groups, and I’ve interacted with them a few times, especially for a launch or promo opportunity. Good luck! I look forward to reading your book!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Gayle! All wonderful suggestions and ideas. I’ll definitely make note of Children’s Book Week. I think I’ll try to email a few local elementary schools and see what happens. I planned to go talk to my local children’s librarians. I wonder if elementary schools still have librarians at the school? I feel like with budget cuts that might not be a thing anymore. I will re-think the FB thing. Thanks for the encouragement and support! 🙂

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  8. Doris says:

    Sarah,

    First, congratulations. That is fabulous news. I have a friend who wrote a childrens book and he does a lot of hospital visits to read his work to the children there. I believe that has led to some additional options, but I haven’t spoken to him for a bit.

    Here’s to a great run with this book! Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wranglers says:

    I haven’t done a lot of that with my books to start with, but I know I should. Good luck on figuring it all out, and congratulations. I hope you have greater than expected success. 😉 Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nancy Jardine says:

    Congratulations on the new book and the change of audience/genre! Personally, I can’t handle being me far less being different author names. When I self-published my Teen time travel I decided not to use a different name because I’m too old to cope with all the hassles you mention on Twitter accounts etc. I hope it all turns out okay for you. Good luck with Superbeetle.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. S. J. Brown says:

    Congratulations on the book release. I have spoken at local schools here in WV. Getting your foot in the door is easier than you think. Teachers love having guest speakers. Just call a local school and ask to speak to the age appropriate teacher. Offer to buy her a cup of coffee one afternoon. Then discus your desire to share your book with her class. Once you set on a date don’t forget to notify the press. They may come take your picture with the kids if it is a slow news day. Free press is always good

    I think April is the national month of reading.(Check on google.)Many schools do author events. High school kids would be interesting in the writing process. Also most schools have career day. You will get a lot of exposure in schools but don’t expect a lot of sales. Every time you are going to a school send out a press release a head of time. Good Luck and have fun with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, S.J. You gave me so many good ideas! My friend who has kids in elementary school said the same thing…teachers and schools love to have authors come and talk about writing and their books. Sales aren’t the main goal for me. I just want kids to be excited about reading and if it’s a book about a different culture, then even better. Thanks for the support and giving me lots to think about.

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