Well you've certainly exposed my complete lack of knowledge on erotica. I hadn't thought of that industry, for I never have found an Anonymous work with a capital A. I shall take your word on the widespread nature of the nameless there.
I had the misfortune to publish under my own name, only to find there was a (self published) chap with the same name, first and last. It's quite a common name in Bavaria but unusual over here, and I'm constantly being mistaken for the author of his books as well as my own. I asked the publisher if I should stick in a middle name and his somewhat cryptic reply was no, let him wish he was you. My advice is, keep googling and searching social media until you find someone who at least is not a writer. I personally like authors who use one or two initials before their surname (real or imagined) to create a gender/race neutral effect. You readers of today can imagine that you are neutral in your expectations but from my vantage point, coming from a time when Archie Bunker was on television, you are kidding yourself. All the cool-aid in the world is not going to erase millennia of western civilization, and names (real or invented) matter.
I will / am using a pen name for my creative writing as I publish medical academic papers in my 'real' name, and I felt like I needed to keep my academic identity separate, not least so people looking for stuff on dementia don't wander into Isle of Echoes.
Re the discussion on writers writing about people different to themselves:
I think all writers have to do this or every character we write would be ourselves. After that its a matter of degrees of difference. Some writers write shallow, implausible, cliched characters fullstop. If those characters are from a minority they're still awful. It seems to me the issue is about lack of thought, and originality in building characters - there are lots of ways to learn about minority groups to inform your writing. Not doing so is lazy - that may be born of assumptions not challenged previously due to the writer's own background of course.
Doi: I'm as vanilla as they come - white middle class professional straight male. Since I offend some people simply by being, I try not to add to that with poor writing.
When I self-published my first novel, a decade ago I decided to publish under this pseudonym. A decade ago when this occurred, I was the CEO of a tech company that re-occurring revenue streams from some large clients paying us more than $500K a year. The novel had a political slant to it, because that was very typical of the EOTWAWKI genre, yet I actually had clients that had signed pictures of the sitting president at the time in their offices, one was actually the President's roommate at Harvard. So, there is no way, that I wanted to jeopardize that revenue stream and be forced to reduce any of my staff for something I did just because I always wanted to be an author...
The name Michael Kaye, was actually the name I had used when I was on air at my college radio station... My real first name is Michael and my middle name starts with K - thus the Michael Kaye... yeah has that late 80's hair metal feel doesn't it
The question I am faced with now, is I have a substantial following on FB (12K + followers), at one time my twitter account had 2x that number of followers (before the account was hijacked by a Russian that pushed bitcoin BS)... While I can't get the twitter account back - all those followers were buyers of my book... the question is do I keep it, knowing I am doing basically a complete 180 in regards to topic of books - from economic collapse end of the world fiction thriller to dragons and magic...
but is it really? and this is where I feel like I am a kid sitting on one side of a child's seesaw with no one on the other side, but I keep trying to go up and down... One side of my mind is going - those social media platforms have been silent for a decade... the other side is going yeah, but that is 12 to 13K potential buyers that have most likely read your previous novel... and back to the other side - true but I doubt 20% would have such a diverse palate to be a reader of both war fiction, survival/prepper genre and fantasy... and back up I try to go with - even 20% is potentially 2400 sales and that will help kick the initial sales traction...
The other thing I keep going around and around with is - do I really want to have to do all the marketing work, the setting up Hootsuite or SocialPilot, research all the hashtags, dusting off the dormant social media platforms, freshen up the ol' website, then run the a/b and a/b/c tests to find the best click through results for my different marketing messages? or do I want to spin my wheels searching for an agent, and waiting for them to sell my book to a publishing house and let them do all that work... again
General rule of thumb is that if your new book is a big deviation from your old genre, you'll want to seriously consider a pseudonym. The reason is that your current fan base knows you and expects more of the same that they love. If they are expecting one thing and you do a 180 on them, you're going to end up with some pissed off readers. Eventually, as your career advances even further than it already has, you can come out of the genre closet and let your different sets of fans know where they can find more of your writing, rather like Anne Rice and the Beauty series.