View Full Version : Pen Names - do you have one? Do you plan to?

12-07-2012, 11:31 PM
So I'm wondering, do any of you use/plan to use a pen name in the future? What is that name? How did you come up with it? :)

12-08-2012, 12:05 AM
So I'm wondering, do any of you use/plan to use a pen name in the future?
Oft asked, oft answered. Might try a search for this.

And my answer is no. And no.


12-08-2012, 12:30 AM
I fully intend to use a pen name. However, it is simply a variation of my own name. My first and last names combine into an extremely common name. In fact, current author has it. So I tend to use my middle name instead.

12-08-2012, 12:42 AM
On my blog, I sling around a lot of invented author names, but I use two pseudonyms in particular. Both are anagrams of my name :)

If I ever have to come up with a "serious" pen name, I plan on combining the names of my two grandfathers with the first name of my paternal grandfather and the last name of my maternal grandfather.

Siri Kirpal
12-08-2012, 12:50 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

In my case, the question is: Do you have a legal name in additon to the spiritual name you use as a pen name? Yes.


Siri Kirpal

12-08-2012, 01:20 AM
I have a pen name because everyone pronounces my surname "Maalox." I use my middle name instead.

12-08-2012, 01:29 AM
I had a bit of an issue with a stalker a while back...seriously crazy stuff.

So now that I just signed with a publisher (:snoopy:) I decided to use a pen name. The publisher wasn't crazy about the idea. But when I explained what had happened, they were more than willing to agree.

Mr Flibble
12-08-2012, 01:45 AM
My real name is not Francis.

The change? Because I've been pubbed under my own name, in a hugely different genre and, well, it seemed best to avoid confusion. I wanted something gender neutral (sadly, there are still those fantasy - probably other genre too - fans who won't read female authors. I plan to get them to read my stuff and then find out I'm female :evil)

Francis came up because it's a family name. I'm getting used to being two people. It's kinda fun actually.

12-08-2012, 01:48 AM
Yes I have a pen name.

It's Ed Wyrd. Because my first name is Edward and that's how I pronounce Ed Wyrd. Ed Ward, my first thought, didn't pronounce the same.

12-08-2012, 01:55 AM
I thought a long time about whether I should have a pen name... but we finally just decided I should use my first and middle initial and my last name... which, I suppose if I get married this year, won't be my last name anymore. If I'm published, I guess it'll be under my maiden name--does that count as a pen name?

12-08-2012, 02:33 AM
Random Botox is a name I'd like to use. Either that or Fallen Egg.

In truth I would like to use a pen name, a layer of anonymity appeals. However, I do not know what publishers prefer, or what authors who do use a pen name have experienced and whether they are happy with their choice.

Love to learn some facts from those in the know.

12-08-2012, 02:36 AM
I have a boring, common first + last name, already used by a self-help writer and Christian writer (one of whom also uses her middle initial--which is the same as mine). There was also a journalist/novelist who used my initials + last name. I rather expect I'd use a pen name, though I think it would be some variation of my real name. And for whatever reason, I like the idea of a pen name, though not to hide my identity.

12-08-2012, 03:08 AM
I plan on using a pen name because I write in two very different genres with little crossover. (Which is assuming I sell in both...a very big assumption. So fingers crossed.) I want to use my real name for one, and then a derivative first name + an old family name for the other.

12-08-2012, 03:12 AM
I use a pen name because of stalker reasons like Robert mentioned above. I didn't want to at first, but one antho asked me too when it was a personal story, and when I used my real name I got a death threat sent certified mail. So. . . .yeah.

12-08-2012, 03:46 AM
Mine is a bit weird. Waaaaaaaay back in 2007, I was looking to publish traditionally, and created a pen name, as my maiden name was taken by a bigtime writer. I used my first name + my grandmother's maiden name. (Cool, too, b/c she was a writer too). Anyhoo, fast forward to 2010 when I decided to self-publish two poetry chapbooks. I wanted to distinguish them from my regular fiction (which hadn't yet sold -- but, lacking in foresight, I'd already gotten my website/Twitter/blog under the pen name) so I used my married name.

Well, now I'm considering self-pubbing mostly everything and decided to keep self-pubbing under my married name, thus rendering the pen name useless. (Unless I sell traditionally - then I may resurrect it).

So the answer to that question is yes and no.

12-08-2012, 03:51 AM
The most likely scenario for me cooking up a pen name is if another publisher would like a set of books and I don't want to step on the toes of the nice people publishing my existing series and, y'know, dilute the brand as they say.

Hasn't happened yet, but if it does, I am so totally gonna be an Ingrid. No one is ever an Ingrid.

Richard Paolinelli
12-08-2012, 04:18 AM
I am thinking about creating one. I am writing both mysteries and sci-fi. I figure I'll use my name for whichever one sells first and see if my agent and publisher think it would be wise to use a pen name for the other genre.

If I do, I will use an anagram of my favorite writer.

12-08-2012, 04:19 AM
I do use a pen name. I picked the last name because it's very similar to my real last name and I figured it would be easy to remember that way. My first name? Well, I like the color red.

Okay, so it wasn't the most complicated process in the world...

12-08-2012, 04:33 AM
I'm working on a just-for-fun project that I'm sure I can't sell to any reputable publisher. If I decide to self-publish it, I'll probably use a pen name for that, so that it's not attached to anything I sell to a trade publisher later. Other than that, it's not really an issue I've given more than passing thought.

12-08-2012, 04:49 AM
I've been published under my real name for non-fiction (research, technical and my freelance travel and garden writing), so unless an agent advises otherwise, I'll keep my real name.

That said, it drives me crazy that people mispronounce my first name! Freda is fred-ah, not Frieda (freed-ah).

My last name (Cameron) isn't my maiden name. It's the last name of my first husband, but my second husband doesn't like his own last name so he told me to keep Cameron! Confused?

12-08-2012, 05:13 AM
In the unlikely event I get published, I might. I have an odd name.

12-08-2012, 08:12 AM
So I'm wondering, do any of you use/plan to use a pen name in the future? What is that name? How did you come up with it? :)

I have not one, but two, pen names. I write erotica and also have a business. I don't need to mix the two.

12-08-2012, 08:20 AM
I'm not really sure if I will or not yet. I don't want to, but I also don't plan on reigning myself in when I decide I want to write different genres, so it may or may not end up being a good idea. Additionally, I have these little hopes that I get published before I get married, and if that happens I'm not sure what name I'll use. It could be fun coming up with a name for myself, but at the same time, I really want to see my own name on a real, tangible, official book.

12-08-2012, 11:38 AM
I'm a picture book author (use real name) but hope to break into the YA market in the not-too-distant future. If I'm lucky enough for that to happen, I'll use a pen-name for the novels as the YA stuff I write is rather dark - I don't want to scare my pre-school readers :-)

12-08-2012, 12:00 PM
Using one for... some sort of anonymity due to touchy subjects in my YA novel. But I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find out my real name.

My real initials are PJT.
I was thinking my pseudonym would be backwards. TJP. Maybe TJ Phillips or something.

12-08-2012, 12:05 PM
My name is all I have, so no. But if it ever becomes an issue, I have enough middle names that I could cobble one together.

12-08-2012, 03:08 PM
I use a pen name because of stalker reasons like Robert mentioned above. I didn't want to at first, but one antho asked me too when it was a personal story, and when I used my real name I got a death threat sent certified mail. So. . . .yeah.

A death threat because of a book? Could you say why, what was it about?

12-09-2012, 01:01 AM
I don't want to use a pen name (I love the idea of having my real name on a published book) but I might be forced to do so. Due to my cultural background (South Asian), I have a highly unusual name (3 and 4 syllables in my first and last names respectively) which most North Americans find really hard to pronounce. I think that may end up working against me if I'm fortunate enough to achieve publication

Robert Gonko
12-09-2012, 02:17 AM
I see my name as a gift from my late mother and father who adopted me as a baby and essentially gave me a family when I didn't have one so I'm going to use it for published works. That said, if I am ever able to write a decent sci-fi story I may use a pen name for that. Not that I'm ashamed of sci-fi but rather to keep that part of my career separate. It seems like a good idea, anyhow. :)

12-09-2012, 04:00 PM
I plan to use a pen name for my Regency romance, when/if I get it published, to differentiate "brands." I haven't picked one yet.

My other work falls into various branches of fantasy and literary/mainstream, plus some non-fiction. I'll be using my actual name for that stuff, I think.

12-09-2012, 09:15 PM

12-09-2012, 10:42 PM
Pyekett is a family name. I have a real claim to it, but there are sharp divides between the various areas of my online life.

12-10-2012, 09:17 PM
I use one. Well, 3 actually, for different genres. My real last name is spanish and it took my family a long time to get it right so I can't even imagine a reader...

Dreadful Romantic
12-11-2012, 12:09 AM
I use an old family name in the last part of my pen name. My first one is very common--Jessica is one of the most popular names given to women born in the early eighties--and my real last name is also common. Google tells me that I share my real name with a photographer, a book blogger, and an adult film star. I ended up looking at my family tree and picking the one last name on it that wasn't an unpronounceable Welsh, French, or German moniker, and that also fit on a book cover.

12-11-2012, 12:26 AM
I've had several names and had small stuff published under two of them. But a pen name? Hmm. Sounds good. Can I be Madam Empress? It's got a kinda ring to it.:rolleyes

12-11-2012, 03:13 AM
A death threat because of a book? Could you say why, what was it about?

I was in an antho of christmas ghost stories for teens. But a person from the past was flipping through, saw my name, bought it, and then sent the letter. So it had nothing to do with the story, just that it got my name back up in this psycho's mind and rekindled the stalker flame, as it were.

12-14-2012, 01:48 AM
My AW username is my pen name for all my works on all genres.

12-14-2012, 01:53 AM
my pen name is Madeleine Farraday. I chose one because of my long last name, which is 14 letters. I also have some other personal reasons, such as wanting to be anonymous on the forums, even though typically I don't write sensitive stuff - no erotica or anything, I just wanted to surf incognito. I use both my real name and pen name in my writing. As for actually publishing a book someday, I haven't decided yet which I will go with.

12-14-2012, 01:53 AM
Yes, I use a pen name for the different genres I write. I wouldn't want to disappoint my erotica fans when my YA book didn't live up to expectations. Likewise, I didn't want to scorch the eyebrows off of my urban fantasy fans if they googled me looking for more titles -- at least not without fair warning.

My pen name is one of my earliest urban fantasy characters whose book was too Mary Sue for words. So I figured I'd run with it :D

12-14-2012, 02:19 AM
I keep threatening to use the pen name A. Mann.

12-14-2012, 03:55 AM
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