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Silver-Midnight
12-09-2011, 02:02 AM
I'm nowhere near ready to be published, but I would still like to form a pen name for myself. I've asked this on another forum and so far the names that have not been taken are Ellery Ashe and Hadley Brice. I do like theses name. However, I don't how popular they would be. There are a lot of first names that I like as well, but I think they well with the selected last names that I have. (If it is important, the genre I write for is romance-like stuff). Are these names good, or should I pick something else? If so, how should go about choosing my name.


Thanks.

EDIT: I mean I like these names, but I just don't like them a whole lot and I don't know if they suit me. I mean they are suitable, but I don't know if they are for me.

Viktor Night
12-09-2011, 02:21 AM
The genre is important to know. You'd have a hard time selling a romance novel with a name like Butch McManly. Anything geared towards women specifically will either need to be feminine, gender neutral, or initials.

Both of your picks sound okay to me, though I don't write in that genre. I'd be less inclined to pick Ellery though. I think it sounds funny, but that may just be me.

There's a pretty good chance your editor or agent will have something to say about this anyway, so try not to get too hung up on one particular name. Your title needs to almost be as open to change as your book titles.

The Lonely One
12-09-2011, 02:24 AM
In addition you can probably have a pen name that applies to your life by looking at the names of those who've influenced you or names that have some significance.

I have used names of family members and roads where I've lived.

Silver-Midnight
12-09-2011, 02:29 AM
Given what I write, I would be embarrassed to use my my family's initials.


I know that genre was important so, that's obviously going to affect my choice, and I really don't feel like either of those names would be popular(or popular for the right reasons).

Should I try looking at popular female names?

Viktor Night
12-09-2011, 02:40 AM
Actually, since you specifically write romance and are looking for a name appropriate to the genre, you might want to have a mod move this thread to the romance forum. If anyone would know, it's them.

Ed Panther
12-09-2011, 02:45 AM
I'll sell you my pen name of Ed Panther for 500 billion dollars. Haha just kidding this isn't my pen name. That would be ridiculous.

AloneBadman
12-09-2011, 05:36 AM
Go with a common and strong name. I originally was Gregory Lionwhyte but then decided it was too silly. So, I changed it Allan Bishop. A vanilla name but it still works.

The Lonely One
12-09-2011, 05:44 AM
I think of a pen name as about the same importance as a story title.

It certainly doesn't override the content of the story, but it is a nice way of representing what it is you're about, and can take the same or more amount of deliberation to come up with. Sometimes they will come easily, sometimes not.

Lydia Sharp
12-09-2011, 05:44 AM
Ellery Ashe and Hadley Brice.

I know you said you like those, but to be honest, they don't flow off the tongue very well. Just my opinion.

L.C. Blackwell
12-09-2011, 07:00 AM
My suggestion would be: try not to overthink this. If something natural doesn't come to you, you can take it up with your agent when the time comes.

You mention two possibilities that "aren't taken" but I assure you there are a great many more. Nor is it necessary to get a public consensus. If you do need to use a pseudonym, play with combinations suitable to the genre until you find one that fits comfortably--anything from elegant to "plain vanilla." Just try to avoid the grandiose, the awkward and the too-clever.

For instance, you do want something that sounds professional, is fairly easy to pronounce, and preferably easy to spell. If it hints at your genre, all to the better.

You don't want a name that sounds like would-be royalty, is awkward on the tongue, or suggests that you used to work as a stripper in Las Vegas (even if you did).

For a nice source of first and last names to mix up, the local telephone book is a good start.

Best of luck! :)

L.C. Blackwell
12-09-2011, 07:05 AM
However, I don't how popular they would be.

Let me add, unless you choose something really off-key, it won't matter. It's the book that will make your name popular, or not. Not the other way around.

toogrey2
12-09-2011, 07:22 AM
I chose Izora Thomas as my pen name. I was my great great grandmother's name. You might look into the past for a name that suits you.

LadyDae
12-09-2011, 07:57 AM
I chose Lady Dae as an alternative pen name and then found out Billie Holiday went by Lady Day and said well, I was named after her anyway, may as well. So Lady Dae it has been for the last three and a half years.

Karen Junker
12-09-2011, 08:02 AM
Make your pen name something that is easy to spell, not in use by an adult entertainer and for which you can get the .com domain name.

JSSchley
12-09-2011, 08:42 AM
Make your pen name something that is easy to spell, not in use by an adult entertainer and for which you can get the .com domain name.

This. In this day and age, I think the googleability and ability to grab the domain name are important if you're creating a pen. If you're using your real name and there are a ton of people, you could always go around it by using "firstnamelastnameauthor.com" or something, but you're always going to struggle with google.

So as long as you're choosing a name anyway, why not go for one that you can corner the market on google search easily? (within reason, of course--Jackelizan Humperdink would probably corner a google search, but might not make the world's greatest pen! :D )

ViolettaVane
12-09-2011, 08:55 AM
I originally was Gregory Lionwhyte but then decided it was too silly.

That's a totally awesome name; it sounds like a character from Black Adder.

My own pen name (Violetta Vane) is very stripper/porn-y but that's perfectly all right by me, since I write m/m erotic romance. I checked it to make sure the name was fairly unique and would give me a good Google search result.

Silver-Midnight
12-09-2011, 09:32 AM
I know you said you like those, but to be honest, they don't flow off the tongue very well. Just my opinion.

Really? Because I actually heard the opposite on another site. That was one of the main reasons I was going to consider the names. Someone told me they rolled off of the tongue fairly well.

Silver-Midnight
12-09-2011, 09:39 AM
This. In this day and age, I think the googleability and ability to grab the domain name are important if you're creating a pen. If you're using your real name and there are a ton of people, you could always go around it by using "firstnamelastnameauthor.com" or something, but you're always going to struggle with google.

So as long as you're choosing a name anyway, why not go for one that you can corner the market on google search easily? (within reason, of course--Jackelizan Humperdink would probably corner a google search, but might not make the world's greatest pen! :D )


Oh. I definitely search up the names that I like to make sure they are not in use. I had a very long list of names that I liked, but apparently, they are already in use by someone. So, I really shouldn't use them.

That's another thing. When I do find a name I like, it seems to already be in use by someone and therefore, I don't want to use it.

I know that my name won't my work famous; it's the other way around, but at the same time, I don't want a really silly or laughable name.


And to be more specific, my genre is more like erotica than it is romance.

I'll be honest. I want to kind of go for something that is either somewhat modern/trendy, or may have an alternative spelling(not a crazy one; something easy), and then just a regular last name. I still do like the last Ashe though; I also considered the last name Laine.

cryaegm
12-09-2011, 10:12 AM
I took my names (I have two middle names) and shortened it. So I came up with Ae Grace and Emi Rin. For Emi Rin, I took one middle name and my last name and shortened it again.

Pheasant_Plucker
12-09-2011, 05:39 PM
This kind of thing always makes me think of Luther Blisset...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Blissett_(nom_de_plume)

...It's a name I'd consider using.

scarletpeaches
12-09-2011, 05:41 PM
This kind of thing always makes me think of Luther Blisset...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Blissett_(nom_de_plume)

...It's a name I'd consider using.Nothing to add here, except you and crunchyblanket have my favourite screen names on this site.

Pheasant_Plucker
12-09-2011, 05:44 PM
Nothing to add here, except you and crunchyblanket have my favourite screen names on this site.

Why, thank you.

Yours isn't so bad either. Probably more original than mine.

Crunchyblanket... I really don't want to think about too much.

shaldna
12-09-2011, 06:35 PM
Ellery Ashe and Hadley Brice.

You say that you write romance, both of these names are very masculine sounding, and if I were to just hear the names, they put me in mind of thriller writers.


EDIT: I mean I like these names, but I just don't like them a whole lot and I don't know if they suit me. I mean they are suitable, but I don't know if they are for me.

You are potentially going to be stuck with that name if a series or something takes off, so it should be one that you like.

I have two pen names - one is a male name that's based on two of my favourite characters, and one is all the letters of my maiden name rearranged into a new name (that was fun)


I know you said you like those, but to be honest, they don't flow off the tongue very well. Just my opinion.

I agree. Ellery Ashe is particularly awkward and instantly forgetable.

If you are going to write in romance then a more feminine name might work better, but also look at the sub genre that you are writing in.

For instance, a regency romance written by Nikki Zamboni-Kelk doesn't seem right, while Elenor Mountbatten probably doesn't write contemporay chick lit.

Jamesaritchie
12-09-2011, 08:41 PM
I don't know what you mean about the names being popular? The writing makes the name popular, not the other way around. You can call yourself Joe Crap, and it wouldn't matter. It's the books that need to be popular, not the name on the books.

Write great books, and everyone will be talking about you, whatever name you go by. Write bad books, and no one will even know your name, whatever it is.

I believe you're over thinking the whole issue. Just pick a name you like and go with it. Over thinking leads to over fancy, and that can be distracting.

ViolettaVane
12-09-2011, 09:18 PM
I have to say I'd be terrified of buying an m/m erotic romance by Joe Crap.

Silver-Midnight
12-09-2011, 10:56 PM
Would I be able to use a name as a last name that another popular writer uses as a first name, and not have anyone gets us confused?

For example, the name Noire. There's a writer who uses this as her only her name, and I was thinking of using it as a last name.

And thank you all for all of the replies. I know that I'm probably over complicating it, but I just want to have an idea of my name I guess. I don't want the "her stories are good/okay, but her name is just weird". I don't mind hearing that once or twice, but if I'm known more for the strangeness of my name than my books, there's a problem. Haha.

Silver-Midnight
02-11-2012, 06:20 AM
When making a pen-name can you use a name (not the entire name, but either the first or the last) that is the same as a video game character? Would you be able to use character names that come from two different games, books, movies, etc.? This is if as long as it isn't a name that isn't immediately connected with the series? For example, I wouldn't want to use Hermione because it is immediately connected with Harry Potter.

DavidBrett
02-11-2012, 06:35 PM
I'm just going to go with David B Andrews if I ever get published. I don't know why most people want an entirely different name; you've spent the months - maybe years - on this masterpiece. Why would you not want to be properly associated with it?

It's always mystified me...

Cyia
02-11-2012, 06:49 PM
I'm just going to go with David B Andrews if I ever get published. I don't know why most people want an entirely different name; you've spent the months - maybe years - on this masterpiece. Why would you not want to be properly associated with it?

It's always mystified me...

Some people have day jobs which would frown upon their writing activities. (How dare Miss Suzy Sunshine think she can teach five-year-olds AND write erotica after hours! She's surely bring smut into the classroom during reading circle!!!)

Some people want to write in wildly different genres, so they pick a new name to keep their fans from being confused. (Wait... his last book was a gory horror novel. What's all this drivel about magic quests and fairies? No on in this book is over 17! And why does he spell fairy f-a-e-r-y?)

Some people don't want their relatives to know they've published. Either because they don't want to insult/embarrass/anger people they care about when their writing choices run counter to the belief system in which they were raised, or because maybe the writer doesn't want her ex to know that she's got a book deal that makes her easily found/stalked via Google.

Maybe you're a guy writing in a "girl" genre and don't want your book pushed aside because your name is masculine. Maybe you're a girl writing in a predominantly "guy" genre, and you don't want to be dismissed as too feminine.

Maybe your legal name is Stephanie Mayer or Daniel Brown, Steven King or Amanda Horking, and you need something that doesn't sound like a copy-cat (though it might get you some sales... just sayin' ;) )

Every reason for a pen name is as unique as the writer who chooses it.

bonitakale
02-11-2012, 07:06 PM
I chose Izora Thomas as my pen name. I was my great great grandmother's name. You might look into the past for a name that suits you.


I've done this, and it worked well; it sounded "real" to my ears. You don't want to go too far in the Laura Anne Lovelace direction. And Ellery Queen was two men, right?

And -- there's no reason at all to pick a name you like. There's no reason not to, of course, but you're not naming a baby. There are plenty of ugly names out there, and some of them are attached to best-sellers.

Silver-Midnight
02-11-2012, 07:17 PM
Wow. Really? That's the first time I heard picking out a name you don't "like". I mean there are a few that I like that sound real to me, but are very....different. They're not difficult to pronounce, but they are just spelled differently.

One more quick question, would it be fine to use names that come from a similar, I guess background, as your real name? For example, if your real name was type of car, would it be okay for your pen-name(at least the first name) to be one as well. This is just an example; I'm not trying to insult anyone or anything.

Manuel Royal
02-11-2012, 07:46 PM
My first thought for you is "Paulette Capuchin". But what do I know? I named myself after a typewriter.

Cyia
02-11-2012, 08:03 PM
Names are names. If you're born with the name Kal-El, it's your name whether it's also Superman's or not. If you're born with the name Hermione, it's your name whether your parents got it from Harry Potter or not. If you're born Mustang Beemer Cardriver, it's your name whether your parents are awful or not.

The only thing you should be careful of is duplicating a name already in use. If you "choose" a name that's the same as an existing writer, then that writer might have grounds to say you're endangering his/her income intentionally. (INAL)

Silver-Midnight
02-11-2012, 08:20 PM
Oh. I was definitely going to make sure that it wasn't in use by someone before I decided to use it. I just wanted to make sure that there was nothing against using a name that had the same first name or last name as another character.

EDIT: Well, I think I'm okay as far as the search goes. The only thing that really came up was the name of the character I based the pen-name off of, and that didn't even show up in a "big" way.

HistorySleuth
02-11-2012, 10:42 PM
If you are picking a pen name, I don't see why you would want to use part of a name of another author (or author's pen name) or a well recognized character. I would think you would want your pen name to be unique to you so there is no confusion by readers.

There are random name generators on the net you can play around with too. I've used them before for characters, kind of fun too.

VoireyLinger
02-11-2012, 11:08 PM
Because books are organized by author's last name, make sure that's easy to remember and spell. Beyond that, pick something you like and will be able to answer to.

First names... well, I'm probably a bad person to ask. Mine's weird and I introduce myself with a pronunciation guide. But it stands out and gets attention.

frimble3
02-12-2012, 01:37 AM
Speaking as a reader, I want your name to be easy to remember and easy to spell. No exotic alternative spellings, and if it gives a suggestion of the books genre, even better. And not difficult to pronounce, because the only time I'm ever going to say your name is if I'm asking for your book, or recommending it. Make it simple for me. And, not embarrassing.

Not Solomon Brown
02-12-2012, 01:39 AM
Pen names....

My real name is shared with a well known author of crime fiction, so I've been struggling with this, too.

http://allthebesturlshavegone.blogspot.com/2011/10/whats-in-name.html

I may go with Ennis Brown - N. S. Brown.


But that's probably gone...

C. R. Reaves
02-12-2012, 03:24 PM
Going to see if I can give you insight based on my thoughts on why I'm choosing my own pen names.

I'm going to be going with three different pen names - none of which are my "real" name. Since I don't really want to feel hampered by genres, I'll be writing to "content-level" - meaning, C. R. Reaves will be young-adult friendly, another pen name will have a lot of steamy scenes and a higher degree of violence, and the third pen name will be for erotica.

Choosing a name for my YA friendly works, "C. R. Reaves" was easy. It's mostly my own real name, with my unusual real first name changed to an initial (both because it would be difficult to spell correctly if you struggle with long, unusual names and because it's quite rare in the US and it would make it incredibly easy for me to be found [and I know it for a fact as I was cyber-stalked more than once]). I'll probably be writing mostly fantasy and alternate history. A lot of YA and fantasy authors use initials for their first names, so it would seem "familiar" to those readers.

For my "steamier" pen name, I'll be using a shorter, more common name. It's a name that has a certain amount of snap and one of the names implies darkness, which suits the darker themes I'll be exploring in those works. (I'm thinking of writing mysteries, horror, urban fantasy, supernatural; etc.)

For the third pen name, I went to a few different naming websites that let you search for the meanings of names and took the meanings of my own names and tried to find names that worked well together and looked like something that would look "right" on a romance title. But I also didn't want something that looked "fake" because I intend to use this name for both romance and erotica titles and while I think erotica readers are perfectly willing to see an obviously unreal name and take it in stride, romance readers don't want to feel like the author is actually ashamed to be associated with what they write and/or not taking their readers seriously. (They may know intellectually and accept that a writer is working under a pen name, but making it obvious can feel insulting on one level or another.)

I'm not sure if it helps, but I hope it does. :)

Silver-Midnight
02-12-2012, 07:06 PM
Speaking as a reader, I want your name to be easy to remember and easy to spell. No exotic alternative spellings, and if it gives a suggestion of the books genre, even better. And not difficult to pronounce, because the only time I'm ever going to say your name is if I'm asking for your book, or recommending it. Make it simple for me. And, not embarrassing.

This is something that I am worried about. I'm trying to pick a name that is easier to spell and remember. I think mine might okay though.

Silver-Midnight
02-12-2012, 07:09 PM
If you are picking a pen name, I don't see why you would want to use part of a name of another author (or author's pen name) or a well recognized character. I would think you would want your pen name to be unique to you so there is no confusion by readers.

There are random name generators on the net you can play around with too. I've used them before for characters, kind of fun too.

I don't know if the character's last name is completely well recognized. I mean when I searched the pen name I want to use to see if it was taken I didn't get a link to a character profile or anything, but a forum(in another language) that mentioned the character. The character comes from a video game, not a novel. Do you think I should still change my pen name then?

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I have been using generators to come up with a lot of my name choices. So, I have plenty of those. Sometimes even with the generator I do get the alternative spellings of some names though. However, not of all of the spellings were extremely difficult. I'm really just trying to find a name that fits me, the genre I write, and that isn't already taken to some degree.

EnitaMeadows
02-13-2012, 06:24 AM
It was always my understanding that choosing a pen name came down to making it simple and easy to remember, and if your book will be in print, choosing the letters in the name as to place it nearby similar titles.

Silver-Midnight
02-13-2012, 06:40 AM
That's the just the thing though. I mean picking something that's easy and simple is fine I suppose, but a lot of names--that I've liked and wanted to use--are already being used in one way or another. That's why it's hard. I don't know if the people using them are writers, but the names do come in search engines. So, that leads me to a question; as long as the person using the name isn't another business or another writer, would I be able to use the name, or would that even be bad? I would prefer to use a name that is rarely used or rarely comes up in a search engine. However, that seems to be getting harder and harder to do. It seems like every relatively okay name I want to use is already in use. Any advice?

As far as similar genre, in one store that I've been to, the people who are in the same genre are near the bottom of the shelf already I think.

C. R. Reaves
02-13-2012, 09:40 AM
There are lots of people who have the same names. Unless they're also a writer with published works or, I suppose, incredibly famous for some reason, I'm not sure why you'd avoid using a name just because it popped up on Google. :)

My own name "C. R. Reaves" pops up for some sort of electrical business. I doubt we're going to be confused for one another. ;)

VoireyLinger
02-13-2012, 04:14 PM
Most names are already taken in some form or another. There is another romance author publishing under my legal name, and one of my friends shares her pen name with a woman who distributes Bibles.

Try to avoid names taken by other authors, and of you are planning to get a website, check dot com availability.

Silver-Midnight
02-17-2012, 09:54 PM
So, if I wanted to make sure there wasn't a write already with the name just put "Author" in front of the name I'm searching and see if anyone/anything comes up?

lady_K
02-18-2012, 12:10 AM
Go with the most catchy name, the one that will be the easiest to remember.
hope that helps :)

bonitakale
02-18-2012, 05:39 PM
Absalom O'Steel

Linda Liplock

Heartie Meale

Silver-Midnight
02-18-2012, 10:09 PM
Hahahaha.

Brigid Barry
02-19-2012, 12:14 AM
EDIT: I mean I like these names, but I just don't like them a whole lot and I don't know if they suit me. I mean they are suitable, but I don't know if they are for me.

Pick something you like. Because if you are just "meh, okay" about them now, then you REALLY aren't going to like them ten years from now.

Picking a pen name - to me - is like picking a baby name. You want something that sounds nice that you will be happy with for a long time - that also suits you.

In my case, after growing up with a German last name and having a French married name I hate when people mispronounce my name. So I decided to go with a pen name that couldn't be mispronounced (unless someone is a complete idiot).

My method for picking my pen name: Look in my genealogy for a last name I liked, make note of the country of origin. The one I picked happened to be Irish.

So I went through a baby name web site for Irish girl's names. I picked a few that I liked, that will be hard to mispronounce and sounded nice with the last name. Then I posted a poll on my Facebook page wanting to know what everyone preferred.

Here's something to consider: You might write romance now, but what if you want to write something else completely different later? Will you adopt a second pen name? Use your real name? My current novel is a paranormal romance but my WIP is an urban fantasy. I wanted something that can span genres easily.

Silver-Midnight
02-19-2012, 12:34 AM
Here's something to consider: You might write romance now, but what if you want to write something else completely different later? Will you adopt a second pen name? Use your real name? My current novel is a paranormal romance but my WIP is an urban fantasy. I wanted something that can span genres easily.

Actually, I've already started writing something else; I'm checking some Urban Fantasy stuff out now. If I do publish under two different genres, I'll either have two different names, or as you said, one that easily crosses genres.