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message 1: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments Hi, I was wondering what you all thought about using your real name vs. your pen name. I'm asking because I'm currently using my pen name, but I feel like I may have made a mistake in doing that. I just want to see where everyone stands on the subject and to get some diverse advice before I really make my decision.


message 2: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 20 comments Alexis wrote: "Hi, I was wondering what you all thought about using your real name vs. your pen name. I'm asking because I'm currently using my pen name, but I feel like I may have made a mistake in doing that. I..."

My professional name is Laurel A. Rockefeller which is really not too different from my full legal name; the only difference is using the middle initial instead of the middle name. I've been Laurel A. Rockefeller as a professional for most of my career and it is consistent with what those OTHER Rockefellers tend to do. It's how I sign my name normally.

It makes sense financially to do that. The last thing you want is an inconsistency between what your customers/readers call you and what you use for banking! :)


Michael Cargill Cargill (michaelcargill) | 372 comments I considered using a pen name, but went with my real name in the end.

It just meant it was easier.


message 4: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments Thank you and I agree with you both! I know there are extra hoops you have to jump through when using a pen name just to prove you are who you say you are. It's a mess financially but I was told by many that its a great way to protect your identity.


message 5: by Rosanna (new)

Rosanna Leo (rosanna_leo) I use a pen name, Alexis, but it isn't too much of a stretch from my real name. Only my surname is fictional. Because I am of a scattered mind, I decided I needed to keep it somewhat easy to remember, and even now, there are days when I forget which "Rosanna" I'm signing on the document!

I haven't experienced any issues using a pen name. When I began writing, I felt it gave me a little bit of anonymity, a little bit of an opportunity to keep my private world separate from the public one. For the most part, my friends and coworkers all know about my author name, and there's been no confusion. I do know authors, especially in the erotic romance world, who insist on keeping their identities secret. It's a little bit of peace of mind.


message 6: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments Rosanna wrote: I do know authors, especially in the erotic romance world, who insist on keeping their identities secret. It's a little bit of peace of mind.

Haha, I would completely agree with those erotic authors. I wouldn't want my professional co-workers knowing about those books -_^.
But also, my real name is nowhere close to my pen name. My real name is "Sabrina Giles". I have thought about using just my first real name and picking a fake surname, but now I'm just wanting to do the complete switch.... Maybe haha... I just, I want people to know me when I introduce myself if they've read my books, you know? I don't want to be a secret author and have to introduce both names. I want to be known and completely out there as an author. I just wanted some advice on the matter before I really made the switch in case I was wrong in my thinking.
This first series and my pen name was just a test to see if I had what it took to cut it in the Author World.


message 7: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments But.... what else made me think of using a pen name was my real name. I mean, does "Sabrina Giles" really sound like a good author name? Shouldn't it be more snappy or something dramatic like.... well like "Alexis Cain"? Maybe I should use a fake surname, but what do you guys think?


message 8: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 20 comments Rosanna wrote: "I use a pen name, Alexis, but it isn't too much of a stretch from my real name. Only my surname is fictional. Because I am of a scattered mind, I decided I needed to keep it somewhat easy to rememb..."

I don't like to remind people this, but I was born with a variation on my name, a diminutive actually. When I was ten, I decided I was no longer a baby and insisted on being "Laurel" instead. You can imagine my ultra conservative family's response. Their pov is that they and ONLY they have any say on my name, even though we are talking about a difference of TWO LETTERS in my given name.

So from the age of ten, there became this disconnect between my legal name and what I signed and expected people to call me (oh the fun the bullies had with this in junior high!). By university, my attempts to sign my legal name looked like a bad forgery. As a sophomore or junior (need to look up the date on the paperwork), the University of Nebraska could not process my scholarship and financial aide package over it. I had to go to court to fix the difference -- or lose all financial aid, including student loans.

I did and they processed the paperwork (late) as soon as I came back with the court order for name change.

Now you would think that a legal name change (three letters; I added an "e" to my middle name) would be a huge hassle. ONLY WITH MY FAMILY!

It solved a lot of problems with my university, my banks, and so forth.

The point being, that disconnect between your legal name and your signature can be a major issue. It's a solid reason to use your proper name, even if you have to go to court to make the name you use your legal name.


message 9: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) I use a pen name in this universe for privacy reasons. The folks at Google+ won't allow me to have an account because of this. (They suspect that Ubiquitous Bubba may not be my legal name.)

In my day job, a side gig as an author is considered unprofessional. I use a pen name to keep some separation between my identities.


message 10: by Rosanna (new)

Rosanna Leo (rosanna_leo) I think Sabrina Giles sounds great! It's very punchy. That's one of the reasons I used a pen surname, because my real surname is usually more problematic for people to pronounce.

I understand about being "out there" with your real name. I wanted the same thing. However, I don't feel any less "out there" using my alias. And believe it or not, I am an erotic romance author too, and my co-workers have been nothing but supportive (they even held two launch parties for me!) People will surprise you.

When you get down to brass tacks, it has to be whatever makes you comfortable. :) If you're ready to let Sabrina out, let her out.


message 11: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments Rosanna Leo wrote: "I think Sabrina Giles sounds great! It's very punchy. That's one of the reasons I used a pen surname, because my real surname is usually more problematic for people to pronounce..."

Haha thanks Rosanna! Well, I definitely like "Sabrina Giles" way more than my maiden name. I was recently married, so before that I would've been "Sabrina Baxley", and that doesn't sound near as good. Me and my husband are a team though, as he's my cover designer (an amazing one at that), and so we're really a team and I wanted to show our team on my site, but having a pen name and all that made it more difficult for me than I wanted it to be. I want to show my growing family on my site to the world too, and how it's like to be me. "To be a Giles" ;)

Thank you so much, all of you! I'm going to let "Sabrina Giles" be unleashed.
^_^ I'm so happy!!!! ^_^

~Sabrina Giles -_^


message 12: by Sabrina (last edited Jun 11, 2013 06:11AM) (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments I had already set up my new site with my real name, but had been flip-flopping so badly on which name to go with that I stopped posting on both my pen name's site and my real name's site. Until now... :). Sabrina Giles' site is at: http://www.gilesfinearts.wordpress.com/ if anyone wishes to take a look. I'd love your support and if you follow me I'll follow you back!


message 13: by Amber (new)

Amber O'shea (amberoshea) | 3 comments Amber is my middle name, O'Shea is a pseudonym, but once I have the funds, my name will become Amber O'Shea. ^_^


message 14: by Rosanna (new)

Rosanna Leo (rosanna_leo) Alexis wrote: "Rosanna Leo wrote: "I think Sabrina Giles sounds great! It's very punchy. That's one of the reasons I used a pen surname, because my real surname is usually more problematic for people to pronounce..."

Have fun with Sabrina!


message 15: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments Now that is an awesome name. I love "O'Shea" especially because it's Irish right? or Scottish? Haha I am Irish/Scottish/German/English so I was all about using those names in the beginning, but everyone I knew agreed on Alexis Cain so that's what I went with.

My other name options were:

Shasta MacRory
Shaylynn Wolf
Rory O'Connell


message 16: by Rosanna (new)

Rosanna Leo (rosanna_leo) Alexis wrote: "Now that is an awesome name. I love "O'Shea" especially because it's Irish right? or Scottish? Haha I am Irish/Scottish/German/English so I was all about using those names in the beginning, but eve..."

Still like Sabrina Giles.


message 17: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments Haha, thanks Rosanna. I do too, and man I wish I'd have had you around when I was asking everyone which name they liked best! You could've saved me from this whole mess!


message 18: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 453 comments Great topic! I use my real name and never considered a pen name, mostly because I'm unsure as to how it would work. I've always wondered how one can promote and market their books while using a pen name.


Have Coffee Need Books (havecoffeeneedbooks) | 33 comments I was always making up names when I was a kid. I hated the name I was given, hated my family, hated my friends, hated school, hated hating things... I sort of defined angst. By the time I was an adult I was called something different by almost everyone I knew.

A few years ago I went through something really traumatic. When I recovered I grabbed on to one name. It was a little like grounding myself. It wasn't the one on my birth certificate but it felt more like my name than anything else out there. It was me.

I think I considered using an alternate name when I published my blog and started writing novels for about five seconds. I really feel like when you write you should identify with it on a personal level. I'm not saying that protecting your privacy is a bad thing, but instead of trying to liven your image by making a different name for yourself, put that energy into your writing. Who's name is on the book is irrelevant if the book isn't what you are focusing on. Don't try to hide who you are behind a name you think sounds better. It's not good for your writing and not good for your confidence.

I would love to read something you write. I don't really care what your name is so long as what comes out of you is something worthy of you claiming it.


message 20: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Phillips (authoralphillips) | 17 comments Good question, and interesting comments above! I use my real name, but using initials only, as my author pen name: (A.L. Phillips). I'm a total C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling geek, so I wanted to follow in the same vein.

In addition, as Rowling was advised, I decided to use my initials rather than my full name to try to stave off any bias due to my being a female author. I know it doesn't matter for adult readers, but I don't want any potential Jr. High male readers to not pick up my YA sword-and-sorcery novel because it was written by a woman.

Also, since I do also publish in the academic field, I don't want people searching for me in either realm to get confused. :P


message 21: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Ash | 25 comments Interesting, A.L. I have often thought of choosing a pen name because mine is so ... well ... plain. Jerry Ash. Once I did use Jerry Wayne Ash, but ever so briefly. I'm just plain old Jerry Ash, I guess, and it served me well when I was running for election and re-election to the West Virginia State Senate. ASH was bold and big on the billboards! :)


message 22: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 453 comments Another reason I just thought of for an author to use a pen name would be if they had a common name. If their name was say John Smith then clearly a pen name might help them big time and seperate them from others.


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