View Full Version : How did you choose your pen name?

08-08-2011, 09:54 PM
Is your pen name part of your real name or just something you made up? Have you ever had an agent or publisher veto your pen name?

08-08-2011, 09:59 PM
My pen name (Jessie Sianodel), the last name was one I chose for a really old DnD characters. The first name I came up with my friend for a different project. So Jessie Sianodel! I'm not sure if I'll use it though....

08-08-2011, 09:59 PM
Mine's the gender-neutral version of my first name, with a (simple) family name as the last name. I've never had any comments on it at all, but it's a pretty normal name :)

08-08-2011, 10:05 PM
I picked Verity a year or so ago, and didn't do anything with it. Since recently deciding to get back into writing, I decided to use that one. I don't remember how I chose it, and I've not googled it to see if it's in use. It will do for now as it will be a while til I publish anything. Mostly I chose this one over another one I used to use as it is totally anon so far.

Chris P
08-08-2011, 10:11 PM
Mine is about three generations removed from my "Star Wars Name." You take the first three letters of your last name, add the first two letters of your first name. Hence, "Petch" for me. For the last name, you take the first two letters of your last name and the first three letters of your hometown, which for me is "Pemar."

"Petch" easily becomes "Patch," and then I picked a friendly sounding last name completely unrelated to the Star Wars name. I haven't published with it yet, but I've got my fingers crossed on a current submission.

C. K. Casner
08-09-2011, 01:31 AM
My married name is something people like to make fun of. I use my initials and my maiden name.

08-09-2011, 01:34 AM
Scarlett Parrish because it sounds a bit like 'scarletpeaches'. Simple as that.

Karen Junker
08-09-2011, 01:52 AM
I've used a pen name when my first book was published -- and later forgot to renew the domain name ownership, so someone else snagged it.

It's a good idea to pick a name that is easy to spell and remember. Then get the dot com domain name registered. People will look for a dot com website for your name before they'll look for a dot net or something with a dash in the name.

Also, do a google search and make sure the name isn't in use by anyone in the adult entertainment biz.

Have fun!

08-09-2011, 01:53 AM
There are two of us, so we took middle names and put them together.

08-09-2011, 01:57 AM
It's a good idea to pick a name that is easy to spell and remember.

I would second this, though. Google now kindly redirects people who search for "Moria Rogers" to our correct name instead, but there's no guarantee of that, depending on the name and search results.

08-09-2011, 01:59 AM
My pen name consists of my boyfriends surname and a variant of my middle name :D.

My surname is just awful and too wordy.

Haven't published under it yet.

08-09-2011, 02:12 AM
I'm keeping it simple - my pen name is my first name and my middle name. :)

08-09-2011, 02:14 AM
Bic Flair?

It just came to me.

08-09-2011, 02:16 AM
Pen name for traditional publishing (some day, I hope) is Libbie Hawker. Libbie is my real first name; Hawker I picked because it fits with Libbie better than my real last name, and is easier to spell and pronounce and remember than many other options as well.

Pen name for my self-published experiment in fun is Lavender Ironside. It came to me one day (mostly because I know a lady whose real first name is Lavender), and it sounded like a totally great pen name for historical fiction: it's memorable, it's a little kooky, and it sounds like a dusty old historian. Since I don't mind much whether my historical fiction ever takes off, I figured I could use a fun, throwaway pen name on it.

08-09-2011, 02:42 AM
When I'm writing as a male narrator, I use my first and middle initial. I've been pubbed that way a few times and it's been fine w. the editors.

08-09-2011, 10:10 AM
I use the name of one of my early creations that sits collecting dust.

08-09-2011, 06:18 PM
Two of my pseudonyms are based on old family names. An agent has no power to veto anything, and unless you choose a really silly pen name, Storm Maelstrom, for example, a publisher doesn't care.

08-09-2011, 07:07 PM
I've written under various names over the years but always my own: full name or initials, married name or maiden name, etc. Now that I'm writing fiction, I've settled on my nickname Dix and a family surname. Hmm, maybe I lack imagination?

08-10-2011, 03:38 AM
Haven't had occasion to use one yet - but I'm hoping. I had several picked out - but that was back when I thought writers could be anonymous. I wanted an androgynous name. Guess it won't matter. I'll use my own last name and some combination of first and maiden.

08-10-2011, 08:59 PM
My agent asked what I thought about shortening my first name to the simple, and gender-neutral, Alex. I liked the idea; everyone calls me that anyway (unless they're my boyfriend or I'm in some kind of trouble). Adams is my ex's name. I kept it after the divorce because it's--again--much simpler than my maiden name.

If/when I get married again, I'll take my husband's name, but keep the old one for professional purposes.

For a time, I did consider using King, which is a family name. :D

08-13-2011, 03:12 AM
My first name is Edward and at first I thought Ed Ward. And then, since I write, Ed Word, but that seemed a little corny or pretentious. So I finally came up with Ed Wyrd. I kind of like the multiple meanings in Anglo-Saxon and old Norse.

08-13-2011, 03:36 AM
I'm using my real name ;) (j.k.)

My current pen name renders to a meaningful short sentence which refers to my title (the "it" I believe I am seeing through). The initials each stand for the other two names I have gone by in my life: Indi and Chatter. The latter, Chatter, was assigned to me by someone attempting to insult my gift of gab. I was so enamored of it that it was in use for a decade, before I decided to reformulate myself. I can always tell how long I have known someone by what they call me.

My username is still in use for my fiction and song lyrics.

Mann Crux
08-13-2011, 04:41 AM
I like my pen name to be like a code so it's based on my real name. Mann because my first name means manly or masculine, Crux due to its original meaning as a reference to the cross, but also because it can be defined as "a particularly difficult puzzle or problem".

08-13-2011, 05:50 AM
Because if someone calls me "Deleyan" or "Dele" or even "Del", I know I'll answer to it. "Lee" just sounded good with Deleyan.

08-19-2011, 07:46 PM
My first main character's real name comes from ancient Egyptian and she needed a modern alias - Rebeka Harrington. I got very attached to my character and have adopted the alias as my pen name.

Plus I also need to keep my writing separate from my "real" world business.

08-19-2011, 10:41 PM
I have my current mystery series under the pen name Annelise Ryan, which is basically my son's name for the last name, and my first and middle names, backward (Elizabeth Anne), for the first name. Annelise was also my name in my high school German class. My first three novels (thrillers) were pubbed under my real name, Beth Amos. But the publisher for the current series wanted a different name, both because the books are different from the first ones and because they wanted to market the series as a "debut."

I just got confirmation that my publisher is offering me a contract for a new mystery series--a three book deal--(yippee!) but I now have to come up with a totally new pen name, "for sales reasons"--whatever that means.

Just call me Sybil.


08-20-2011, 01:07 AM
I don't really want to use one...but my real name pulls up literally thousands of hits based on my day job (for part of which I have spent well over a decade answering technical questions online). I'm thinking I might use a soundalike which is spelt different enough that Google doesn't combine the two.

08-20-2011, 01:28 AM
Mark Twain is My favorite writer .. hands down

Ned Buntline is one the most interesting people I know about who writes

I decided I needed a naughtical pen name in salute to them

09-05-2011, 12:59 AM
I write under my real name which has a double barrelled surname that is unique to only the members of my immediate family. I'd considered using a pen name but it didn't feel right and I couldn't settle on one.

I want to expand more into freelance journalism and am thinking about using a pen name for that to allow me freedom to write things without it automatically being linked to either my books or my blog.

09-05-2011, 08:56 PM
(One day) I'll use a derivative of my middle name and probably a surname from a few generations back in my family tree.

Because I don't want to just write in one genre, the women's fic will be under a feminine name and the thriller/UF stuff under a more gender-neutral/initials-and-last-name formula.