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Random > Using a pen name... pros and cons?

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message 1: by Brady (new)

Brady Longmore | 46 comments It's getting closer and soon the big decision will be upon me. I'm tempted to use a pen name just to come up with something maybe a little more catchy or memorable than my real name. I'm wondering what the group's thoughts are on using a pen name. Pros and cons?

message 2: by Tim (new)

Tim Stead (timstead) | 32 comments I often think a pen name is like a tattoo. It might seem cool now, but will you still like it in ten years?

Also, have a look at the names of successful authors. Do you think Stephen King is memorable? It is now :-) How about John Grisham, Tom Clancy? Pen names all tend to be either one syllable and then two (or three) or many then one. Yours fits the pattern if you cut the 'y' off :-)

I made the decision to use my real name because I wanted to be recognised as the author of my work.

message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez Well as far as pros go, if you're an established author who is known for a certain style and/or genre, you have a freedom to escape that typecasting. Also, if you aren't an established author, it can give a lil mystery like the guy who wrote Series of Unfortunate Events and use that as a way to kinda sell your story? Not sure if I expressed that correctly (I'm on my phone and it's a bit difficult haha)

message 4: by William (new)

William Rayst | 3 comments I choose to publish under a pen name because my real name was much too common in the field of science fiction. I didn’t want to be lost in the crowd (and a very talented crowd it is) as my work gains readership. In choosing a pen name, I searched different combinations of it on the web until I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was lucky that Rayst is actually part of my real name and that way it doesn’t feel like a separate personality. Now, the work of building interest in that name begins. That’s the hard part, but at least I’ll know that when it comes up in a Google search, they’ll find me and not one of those famous and successful authors who just happens to share my real name.

message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna M. Watson | 66 comments I chose to use a pen name because writing isn't my entire life. It's a major hobby. I'm hoping to become a doctor, and having my real name associated with my books might not be the best thing. My last name is also a little weird, so I picked a different one.

message 6: by Kat (new)

Kat Desi (katdesiwrites) | 61 comments Hi, Brady. Check out this article:

I hope it could help with your decision. I, for one, use a pen name (Kate Dessi) because (1) I have a complicated surname, (2) It's kinda catchy? Hehe and (3) the same as Anna, my writing is just a hobby - for now. :)

message 7: by Eileen (new)

Eileen | 2 comments How do you handle the on-line presence with a pen name? Do you use your "real" biography just with the pen name? That's the hardest hurdle with pen names, I think - the on-line presence. How do folks handle that?

message 8: by Linda (new)

Linda Carson (lindahcarson) I haven't published yet, but I'm planning on publishing with my middle initial, largely because my name is very common and the domain name was not available. I agree with William - if your name is very common and it will be difficult to establish an online presence then look for some variation or a completely original pen name.

message 9: by Brady (new)

Brady Longmore | 46 comments Thanks everyone, for the excellent input. You have all given me something to think about. Kate, that is a great article you linked to. My name isn't very common, so I think I'm safe from being confused with other writers. And you know... there is a part of me that fantasizes about the girl that dumped me in high school seeing my name in bold letters someday. :) LOL

message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez Brady, we all got those fantasies. Well at least you and do lol

message 11: by William (new)

William Rayst | 3 comments Eileen brings up an interesting question about your online presence. I’ve heard of authors who have three and four pen names to service the different genres of their work. Some freely admit that they write A under this name, and B under another name and so on. In creating my bio page on my website, I took a cue from Daniel Handler, who is an American author best known for his work under the pen name Lemony Snicket. Mr. Handler mentions his real name in his amusing bio on the website.

message 12: by Eileen (new)

Eileen | 2 comments Thanks for the Lemony website - boy, is that a great site!

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