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Thread: Pen Name or No?

  1. #51
    figuring it all out JoyceAernouts's Avatar
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    I actually found my pen name yesterday! Totally by accident, it popped into my head and that was it. It fit. That was me. Very crazy how it just happened, because I'd spent many hours before on this with no succes.

  2. #52
    Whittling Away My Writer's Block D.L. Shepherd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoyceAernouts View Post
    I actually found my pen name yesterday! Totally by accident, it popped into my head and that was it. It fit. That was me. Very crazy how it just happened, because I'd spent many hours before on this with no succes.
    Nice! Don't you love it when things like that happen?

  3. #53
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I use a pen name because I'm so private, but it keeps changing because I'm so indecisive. It started as Madison E. Reuven, then became Madison B. Reuven, then back to E, and now it might become Madison Rachel de Wentworth or some variation.

    I want to legally change my first and middle names. I know I decided on Madison as a first name. At first, it was Madison Erin, and then I signed up for NaNoWriMo as MadE9. Then, I chose Madison Brooke, so I changed my pen name to MBR. Finally, I am choosing Madison Rachel, but I don't want to be Madison R. Reuven because that's too many R's, so I chose de Wentworth after the oldest ancestor of mine I could find, Rynold de Wynterwade (also called Reginald de Wentworth). I decided to use Rachel instead of just an initial to get used to the name and because using an initial then a 2-part surname looked kind of weird.

    I chose Reuven as the original name because that was part of my Hebrew name.

  4. #54
    Benefactor Member Manuel Royal's Avatar
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    I learned that there's already a writer with the same name as mine (including the middle initial) publishing novels. I wanted to avoid being confused with someone else, and also wanted to be able to separate my writing career (if I ever have one) from the rest of my life. Named myself after my favorite typewriter.
    Fiction blog as Manuel Royal: Donnetown Today or Recently (or a Long Time Ago)

    Fiction column under my real name: Welcome to Smyrnings ; continued as Spland of the Splost

    Six-minute YouTube video produced by SandJack from my short script (NSFW): Make The Baby

  5. #55
    practical experience, FTW Pearl's Avatar
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    I use a pen name because I'm also a freelance journalist, and I don't want to the two to mesh together. I mean, who would take a journalist who also writes vampire stories seriously?

    But part of me really wants to show that it is me. I like my real name because the last name is an uncommon Irish surname. I keep telling myself that once I finish writing paranormal stories, I'll use my real name. But sometimes I wish I had gone with my real name all along. I mean, Lis Wiehl is a commentator on Fox News who writes (or I think has a ghost writer) mystery novels, and I don't think its effected her media career.

    I don't know. I self-published one book under my pen name and I'm working on its sequel, so done is done.

    BTW, Megan is my real first name but my pen name surname comes from my mother's maiden name.

    ETA: I saw a self-published author who wrote several books under one name, and is now writing under a different name. She's now making it known she is the author of those previous books. Is that a good idea?
    Last edited by Pearl; 08-26-2017 at 06:07 AM.

  6. #56
    practical experience, FTW JoB42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl View Post

    ETA: I saw a self-published author who wrote several books under one name, and is now writing under a different name. She's now making it known she is the author of those previous books. Is that a good idea?
    I suppose it depends on her reasoning for having separate pen names in the first place, but I imagine the cross promotion is a good idea.

  7. #57
    figuring it all out Ancoelle's Avatar
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    Now that I have gotten married and gotten rid of my terrible maiden name, no pen name necessary! Good riddance to that name, haha.

  8. #58
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Flannel's Avatar
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    I have a fairly unique wallet name and like my privacy, so if I ever publish anything it'll definitely be under a pen name.

  9. #59
    Polydactyl Landshrimp underpope's Avatar
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    I'm egotistical enough to want to see my name on the cover. So no pen name for me.

    Unless I end up writing something so different from my normal fiction that an agent or editor or publisher insists on a pen name... in which case, I'll probably go with "G. D. Rupert." G. D. stands for "God Dammit" and Rupert is our rambunctious cat.
    -----
    Richard S. Crawford: Code monkey by day, word monkey by night
    Website/Blog: www.underpope.com
    For your reading pleasure, a wee horror novella: The Winds of Patwin County

  10. #60
    figuring it all out
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    Pen names really come around to personal opinion; I'm using my own name unless I decide for some reason that it would be better to use a pen name for the sake of the story. (Such as Lemony Snicket with ASOUE.)

    However, as others before have said, it may confuse readers to see the name of the main character in the author's slot. Or, people may think you've named the main character after yourself. It definitely wouldn't be my first choice to use my MC name as my pen name, especially on the same book the MC appears in.
    In review--Hotel 13
    WIP 1--Untitled absurd/psychological fiction
    WIP 2--Untitled mystery/suspense

  11. #61
    figuring it all out bin_b0x's Avatar
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    I'm hoping to. It'll start with the initials of my first and middle names, followed by my surname. My full name is far too long to occupy any space on any front cover.

    Read out loud, it sounds quite a lot like the pen name of the super famous author of a super famous series of children's books. Not that I'm looking for people to start guessing...

  12. #62
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I use a pen name. My first novel (still trying to find an agent) is a non-fiction narrative and I was paranoid about legality issues so I decided to change every "character's" name, including my own. I say follow your instincts. I personally like TD Dracken. Sounds mysterious and compelling.

  13. #63
    Ooooh, pretty lights and sirens :D _Sian_'s Avatar
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    I use a pen name because I have another professional identity, and I like the neatness of having the two be separate. Also, my first name is not the most pronounceable thing in the world, so there's that too.
    New Blog Post: Work. How to Make Words
    New Blog Post: When Not to Write
    My short in Strange Horizons: Bride Price

  14. #64
    figuring it all out
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    I think the idea of a pen name is interesting, although I don't know if I'd use one. I always thought I might do it if I decided I just didn't like the way my name would look on a book. I'd say I'm 50/50 on it, and when the chips are down, I'll probably just go with my own name. I do think people have some pretty cool ones. On the subject of having the pen name be the name of the MC, I agree I think that would work better if it were in first person.

  15. #65
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin insolentlad's Avatar
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    After turning out twenty-some books, the bulk of them fantasy, I'm plunging into a completely different genre and have decided to use a pen name for it. Not just a different name but a different gender. I think my readers (I am sure there are one or two) have certain expectations about me and what I write. And everyone one has expectations about the genre and subject matter I am tackling.

    Once, in the far distant past, I was writing magazine articles (mostly for fitness mags) and used a different variant of my name there—Steve rather than Stephen. I suspect if I ever wrote nonfiction along those lines again, I would use Steve. Not exactly a pen name but a variant to set that work apart.

  16. #66
    Dual class author / nightguard WormHeart's Avatar
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    I thought hard about this because I'm already a brand in Danish. Names are important, since most readers will only see that name tag beneath the title.

    Now, my real name is Michael Kamp.

    Michael. That is about as sexy and exotic as oatmeal. No bonus points.

    Kamp is better. In Danish it's pretty much perfect since it literally means "battle" or "fight". It's short, easy to remember and has the added benefit of starting with a K.

    I write horror and my books are placed on the shelf under K. Which means people looking for the new Stephen King or Koontz books are looking in the same section and sometimes same shelf as my titles.

    It's less effective in English since Amazon.com is not doing anything alphabetical and it does not carry any meaning that is memorable.

    In Scotland being "Kamp" is slang for being a homosexual. So there's that.

    I'm building on my established Danish brand so changing the name would not make much sense. I think.

    If you have a very bland or very common name, a penname might be a good idea. Just don't overdo it - readers need to be able to spell it to find you.

    WormHeart
    Clowns! Gore! Candyfloss! Dead Children!


  17. #67
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Years ago I decided to use a pen name should I ever get to finishing a MS and publishing. I wanted a bit of anonymity. Now that I've had more time to get serious about my writing, I realized that I didn't care as much about the anonymity. My name is me, and I wanted it on my writing. I got social media set up under my real name and was considering purchasing a domain. Then I googled my name. There are several of us out there. The top result for my name is a fairly accomplished artist. After that are a bunch of court records, mug-shots, and trashy party photos. Yikes! I do NOT want someone to google that and mistake it for me. I've decided to use my initials and maiden name. It's still personal and important to me, but it's also very unique and not easily confused with other people.

  18. #68
    The Wanderer DanielSTJ's Avatar
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    Negative on the pen name.

    I want people to know that it is me storytelling-- not someone else.
    Vivere militare est.

  19. #69
    practical experience, FTW Davy The First's Avatar
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    I'm kinda in the situation that my pen name is fairly known-ish for short stories. So, if I submitted queries under my pen name, it might garner that fraction of a second more consideration...

    But I dunno how well that'd go down re 'professionalism'. So, so far, I haven't.

  20. #70
    Defy gravity. Metruis's Avatar
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    I'm not really... comfortable with the idea of fame, so I've toyed with the idea of a pen name for years. Never picked one though, and all my art is under my name. I have no idea what I'll do if I publish any writing. It'll likely end up under my dumb real name because like everything, I can never make decisions.

  21. #71
    practical experience, FTW Raindrop's Avatar
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    I'm so used to Rain / Raindrop that I answer to the name in real life. Whatever name I write under, it'll have to be Rain (something). Besides, my real name is impossible to spell.
    If I could put all my typos together, I'd have enough material for a trilogy.

  22. #72
    independent claws blackcat777's Avatar
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    I'm rebooting my whole identity. I've thought a lot about names and perceptions, and I think using a man's name would be a power move for my current project.

    The name I REALLY wanted for myself is already taken by someone self-pubbing scammy erectile dysfunction books on Amazon. It took me so long to come up with something I liked, and I was crushed when I found it in use. I could make variations... but, meh. I want something nobody else has. This is Highlander. There can be only one of me.

    I need something witty. Or something epic. The last idea I facetiously entertained was first name of favorite actor + last name of favorite fictional character. I've been running all kinds of "pick a name" games through my head but... have yet to be struck by the great bolt of inspiration.

    I also need to find a fake, tongue-in-cheek author photo that "fits the genre." Ideally one that is clearly a different person for every book...

    I like invoking images and playing with idea constructs.

  23. #73
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Concerning the privacy thing...

    Unless you're really, really huge, and even then from really really huge authors I've heard it said, you never get recognized. Even in an airport with people reading your book with your face on the back cover.

    However, if you use a pen name and someone wants to know your real name, they can probably find it.

  24. #74
    Always Learning
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    I will use a nom de plume (pen name) / pseudonym. J.K. Rowling and Oprah (archived on YouTube) did an interview of Rowling. Rowling noted she didn't have a mentor when writing, so she couldn't ask what to do for obscure stuff. SHe gave the example of dealing with paparazzi digging through her trash cans looking for the next installment of Harry Potter. If my using a pen name can stop even one person, it is a good thing. Assuming my first book does well. Also, I found a pen name that is an anagram for a recurring theme in my book series.

  25. #75
    A seadog looking for crewmates Elenitsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.D. Dracken View Post
    I chose, for better or worse, to use the main character's name as my len name for a few reasons. The first is that the character's personality is based largely on mine and how he would act in situations comes from what my instincts would be to do.

    The largest reason is that I have already been using it as my screen name for years now even though I just committed recently to putting the story into book form. It's already a name that I identify with.
    This happened to me too. I had the character for a lifetime and I liked her name a lot. I would have given it to my daughter if I had one. I had it as screen name on FB, Wordpress, and other places. When my publisher said that I have a too common and too long family name and he proposed me a pen name, I didn't like his proposal and I chose Marina Costa instead. It's short, easy to remember, and I had already the media accounts with it

    http://beforethemast.b1.jcink.com/index.php
    -A swashbuckling adventures RPG, set in 1720 in West Indies, open since August 2010;
    winner of Distant Fantasies& RPG-D Member's Choice Award; RPG Conference's Originality Award; 2011 & 2012 Simming Prizes-

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