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Sunshine13
05-30-2008, 09:56 PM
Not that it matters at this point in my writing, but I was curious and figured I should ask now before I forget.

How does the whole pen name work? I've seen some people mention their pen names in query's, but is it really anything you need to worry about until your agent finds a publisher and THEN you're like, "Hey, I'd like to go by this name instead." I mean, I just have no clue how any of it works. Explain :P

Another question is I had planned on using my initials and then last name (I have a long name, so it would end up being C.C.S Jones - - is it frowned upon to have a name that sounds close to another, like C.S Lewis? Or does it really even matter?)

Thanks for any info. This is just passing time while I work on my last chapter. (I've hit the 800 word mark in it, after scrapping my first 600 words, woot).

alleycat
05-30-2008, 10:10 PM
I seem to always be finding your posts . . .

You put the pen name you want to use on the manuscript (along with your real name). In all other correspondence you use your real name. Pen names can be problematic if you plan on going out and promoting your book (such as book signing).

C.C.S. Jones doesn't sound enough like C.S. Lewis to worry about.

Hollan
05-30-2008, 10:32 PM
Pen names can be problematic if you plan on going out and promoting your book (such as book signing).

Why is a pen name a problem? Can't you just sign a book with your pen name instead of your real name? The public doesn't have to know it's a pen name, right? Just my opinion.

DeleyanLee
05-30-2008, 11:09 PM
They're no problem at all, as far as I know.

I've coordinated contests for published works. When the winner had a pen name, we just put whatever the writer's by-line was and they were always happy.

Steve Collins
05-30-2008, 11:27 PM
I used thepen name Steve Collins pretty much for security reasons. My real name was so unusual that there were only 7 listed in the London phone book, all relatives. With book signings and promotions I use the pen name, the only times I've come unstuck is writing an article for a newspaper or doing a TV promo the check comes to you in your pen name then you have to start explaining to the bank. Now I live in the U.S. I use my real name but it's not the name I'm known as in the UK. All very confusing!

alleycat
05-30-2008, 11:37 PM
When I said the use of a pen name could be problematic, I meant in the sense that it may not serve the purpose intended or have unintended consequences once the author is out in the public. There are several valid reasons for using a pen name, and several for not. For example, one of the most common uses of a pen name is for writer who writes in various genres. If someone writes children's stories, they may very well want to use a pen name if they also write steamy romance novels. However, it's going to be tough to go to a bookstore one day and sign their copies of Jessica's Guide to Rough Sex, and two weeks later come back and host a children's reading hour for Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Gopher.

I was just suggesting that anyone thinking about using a pen name consider whether it's a good idea for them or not; it may very well be, or it may not be. That's all I meant.

DeleyanLee
05-30-2008, 11:37 PM
I don't know about other places, but there's this little thing you do at the county level called "Doing Business As". You fill out the forms, get a nice official piece of paper recognizing your right to do business by your pen name. You take that down to the bank and have them note your business name on your account. You take the check down and viola! No problems, little hassle.

inkkognito
05-31-2008, 12:54 AM
I can't speak about books, but I used a pen name for a few articles and it was very easy. I simply told the editor that I wanted the piece published under my pen name and put the pen name as "by _____" on the manuscript. It's handy when you use friends as examples and would rather they didn't realize it.

Sunshine13
05-31-2008, 01:24 AM
Thanks for all the input. So basically, on my header (which I still have to figure out what exactly I do on THAT), I put both names? Because in all reality, I am not sure it'd be considered a true pen name when it's just my initials and stuff. Just clarifying.

And I could see that as being confusing, alley, about writing diff. genres lol. I may get into children's books down the line and I don't know if I'd use a different name or not. Something to think about later.

sassandgroove
05-31-2008, 01:42 AM
here are some more AW threads on the subject. There were more but I figured this was enough.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=103306&highlight=pseudonym
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95717&highlight=pseudonym
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92037&highlight=pseudonym
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91556&highlight=pseudonym
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90998&highlight=pseudonym
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90226&highlight=pseudonym
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90049&highlight=pseudonym
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=89664&highlight=pseudonym
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88275&highlight=pseudonym
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87506&highlight=pseudonym

WriterX316
06-03-2008, 12:40 AM
In my case I have to go by Writer X as I can't have attention brought to my real name. I was in the military and that life is one that I don't want people to know the details about. Even though I'm honorably discharged I cannot allow people to know my past. When you write a book and it gets out people start looking at your name and its origins. Its safer for me and my family if no one can track my real name.

Kalyke
06-03-2008, 01:36 AM
I've always signed my first 2 initials and my last name, like you do. I was worried about doing several genres, but one answer was that if you keep writing, they print your catalog, and you can get much more pennies, nickels, and dimes if you keep it all under one name. It made sense to me, so whatever you start with there you are.

slcboston
06-03-2008, 04:29 AM
My pen's name is "Pilot."

Says so right on it. :D

... or is that not what you meant? :)

scope
06-03-2008, 04:54 AM
If you want to use a pen name, do so. Just don't make it too cute. One thing of interest is that today many well known authors who in the past might have used pen names, do not. That's because today, more than ever before, writers cross-over in genre. Many write for adults and also for children. It's somewhat of an "in" thing.

Eldritch
06-04-2008, 04:38 AM
It's handy when you use friends as examples and would rather they didn't realize it.

What kind of things are you writing about your friends?

Libbie
06-04-2008, 05:18 AM
Thanks for all the input. So basically, on my header (which I still have to figure out what exactly I do on THAT), I put both names? Because in all reality, I am not sure it'd be considered a true pen name when it's just my initials and stuff. Just clarifying.



Nope. On your header, you put the last name from your byline, the title of the work (or a key word from the title if it's a very long title) and the page number.

For example, I use the pen name Libbie Grant Ricks, so my headers look like this:


Ricks, Fire Dance, 1

On the front page of your manuscript, in the top left corner you put your REAL name, your address, phone number, and email address. In the top right corner, your word count. Halfway down the page you put the title of your manuscript, and beneath that, your byline. Your byline is where you indicate your pen name, or however you want your manuscript credited in print.

So, since Libbie Grant Ricks is not my real name (but it's close!) I put on the first page of my manuscripts my real name, plus all my contact info. And halfway down the page, this:




FIRE DANCE
by Libbie Grant Ricks



Then the text of the manuscript begins immediately below that (double-spaced, of course!)

This tells the editor clearly to publish the work under the name Libbie Grant Ricks, but to write my real name on the check so that I can cash it at my bank without any troubles. ;)

Always use the last name in your byline for your headers; always put your legal name in the upper left of your first page to ensure you get paid.

Sunshine13
06-04-2008, 07:04 AM
Hey Libbie, you rock! I just read this in the Writer's Market book today too lol.

Thanks for the info guys. :)

Mystery Man
06-04-2008, 07:24 AM
Why is a pen name a problem? Can't you just sign a book with your pen name instead of your real name? The public doesn't have to know it's a pen name, right? Just my opinion.

Some writers who use pen names have said they have had problems at signings because the bookstore doesn't believe they're the writer (they have no photo I.D. that says they are the writer).

Sunshine13
06-04-2008, 07:56 AM
Interesting. Well, since I'm using my initials I'd hope that wouldn't be a problem. And, wouldn't someone else set a signing up or do you the author do that? I'm so naive to the writing world still lol.

Ldyjarhead
06-06-2008, 07:02 PM
I'm only just now thinking about sticking my toes in the water, but I wanted to come up with a decent pseudonym before going any further. I don't want to use my married name, and my maiden name is too difficult to deal with (St. Jean). I hoped to use my paternal grandparents name of Anctil as I was named for my grandmother, but while I really like it, it is a bit of a mouthful and most probably wouldn't know the correct pronunciation.

Mother's maiden name is Hunkins - too boring. Her mother's name was Mckenna, so I thought about that as a first name rather than last, and I know Mom and Nana would be thrilled.

Next trick was working on a surname that would fit and not be confused with a first name (since McKenna could be either), and also wasn't a common name that might be noted for something else.

I think I've settled on McKenna Malone.

Opinions?

Darklite
06-06-2008, 07:08 PM
Mckenna Malone sounds like a great name for a crime writer :) What genre do you write though?

Ldyjarhead
06-06-2008, 07:16 PM
Mckenna Malone sounds like a great name for a crime writer :) What genre do you write though?

I haven't written anything yet but don't think that genre would interest me. I'm probably going to shoot for articles and essays, but haven't decided what market(s).

inkkognito
06-06-2008, 07:44 PM
What kind of things are you writing about your friends?
Things about their choice of headgear...about their obsession with certain 60s rock idols and the resultant restraining orders...things of that nature....

EroticDiamond
06-06-2008, 08:49 PM
I am also, looking for a pen name. My last name is not common and would make it easy for people to find me. My present career is the use of my name and I plan on writing erotica. So for now as I get started I don't want it to reflect on my career or my children for we are in a small town and I am very involved in community service. I have a first name for my pseudo, working on a last name. Thanks for asking the question.