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message 1: by Sabrina (last edited Oct 30, 2014 06:56AM) (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments Hi guys, so here's the problem. I'm really debating on whether or not I need to get a fresh start with a new name. I've decided to go for my BA in Wildlife Biology and I want to also be a Science Writer. I've been told (by my mother) that I should write my fiction under another name because for science articles I need to be as professional as possible.

Part of me believes I have ruined my image from all of my newbie mistakes and need a fresh start if I want the chance of getting signed. I've already picked the fake name I want to go with, and I really like it, but I feel stuck because I've already published a book under this name. Do I just leave it behind?
I just wanted to know what you guys thought, because I don't know anyone else who's a writer. Thanks in advance! I really appreciate all the advice. Also, I was curious as to how many authors out there actually use their real name instead of a pen name and vise versa.

message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Stuart | 21 comments Hi Sabrina

Your mother is right, up to a point.

Why don't you write science articles under a different name? If they need to be in your own because they are associated with the university, or aimed at universities and you need to claim qualifications, she's still right.

Is the published book an eBook? If it is, ask Amazon if they mind if you change your pen-name/pseudonym. Most of us, I expect, use them from the start and nobody regards them as fake.

It depends a bit on how you regard your book. Is that one of your "newbie" mistakes? If it is, scrap it and use a pen name for the next, which will be a thousand times better.

message 3: by Sabrina (last edited Oct 30, 2014 06:52AM) (new)

Sabrina Giles (sabrina-giles) | 33 comments Hi Sarah

I figured the science articles would have to be in my real name because I'm the one who has the degree, not my fake name. Oh and sorry I didn't mention before, but this is my real name.

And the book is both an ebook and a paperback with Createspace. I did make many many mistakes with this first book and that's partially why I feel I may have ruined my image. It's been published for over a year now, I've changed the cover several times, and changed things in the content a couple times (trying to fix mistakes and ultimately having to take out a couple characters to do so).

All of that, and I still haven't finished book 2. I'm not sure when I'll even be able to work on the sequel because I just had a baby and I don't get much sleep now, haha.

message 4: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 453 comments It depends on whether you feel the need and whether or not you should. Some prefer to use a pen name to separate themselves from their personal life while others(like me) use their real names because we don't feel the need for a pen name. Another reason for a pen name can be for when your writing in another genre and wish to use a different name so people can find define your other works.

I think it's up to the author but either way works and can't go wrong. Some use both and it pays off so if you wanted to use one and then change your mind later on it'd be fine.

message 5: by Jim (last edited Mar 02, 2015 01:25PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic I chose to use my real name in order to receive the credit if the book became a commercial success and the blame if it did not. Authors choose a pen name for a number of reasons. Some fear the subject matter of their book might cause problems with their other career. Some wish to shield their familiy from notoriety. Others write defferent genres and want the fan base to identify the books of each with a unique author name. Women who write male centric stories often use a male pen name and vice versa.

A list of just a few of the better-known pen names:
Robert Galbraith - J.K. Rowling
Anonymous - Joe Klein
J.D. Robb - Nora Roberts
Barbara Vine - Ruth Rendell
Anne Rumpling & A.N. Roquelaure - Ann Rice
Amanda Quick & Jane Castle - Anne Krentz
Richard Bachman - Stephen King
Ed McBain - Evan Hunter
A.M. Barnard - Louisa May Alcott
Currer, Ellis, & Acton Bell - Charlotte, Emily, & Anne Bronte
George Eliot - Mary Ann Evans
Mark Twain - Samuel Langhorne Clemens
O. Henry - William Sidney Porter

message 6: by J.S. (last edited Nov 21, 2014 04:34PM) (new)

J.S. Burke | 50 comments Hi Sabrina,
If you just had a baby, it would be hard to do anything! I'm not sure it matters if you change the name. I published all my science research articles under my maiden name, so the (few) science readers could find me. I used J.S. for my sci-fi novel for ambiguous gender, which was the rationale for J.K. Rowling. What is easiest? What do you want to do? Good luck with everything!!!

message 7: by Rob (new)

Rob Bignell (robbignellofinventingreality) A pen name allows you to write books you wouldn’t normally be associated with – For example, romance books sell better if written by a female, and the same is true of westerns written by men. That doesn’t mean a man can’t write a good romance or that a woman can’t pen a great western, but there does seem to be a bias among readers. You also can use a pen name to conceal your identity for business purposes. That seems to be the reason you're thinking of doing that here.

message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Stuart | 21 comments Sabrina wrote: "Hi Sarah

I figured the science articles would have to be in my real name because I'm the one who has the degree, not my fake name. Oh and sorry I didn't mention before, but this is my real name.


I thought you would need your real name for professional work, which is why I asked if you would consider scrapping your one book.

You still could unless you've had hundreds of sales and gathered a good following of fans eager for your next. The chances are that hasn't happened. Goodness knows it's tough, and you're clearly aware it isn't as good as the novel you are capable of writing.

Why not simply ignore it, forget writing book 2 and start with another idea entirely? Babies DO get easier, and enjoy it while you can: they grow up fast.

Think... research... make notes... and when you're ready, write. When the book is finished, publish it under a new name, and take Rob's advice and choose one that fits the genre. You won't be the only author who uses one name for serious stuff and two more for fiction.

Good luck.

message 9: by Gary (new)

Gary (garyrobson) | 4 comments A pen name is a personal decision. I understand why people do it, but I have chosen not to. I write magazine articles on every topic under the sun, from science to history to ranching to tea to technology. I write adult books about technology for deaf people and children's books about animal poop (and I'm working on a book of historical fiction shorts).

I do all of this under my real name. I did split my blog, but both blogs use my name.

I can see using a pen name if I now decided to write erotica (not a good thing for a children's author), but short of that I don't think my professional reputation is damaged by having a broad range of interests and a variety of skills.

message 10: by Julia (new)

Julia Rist | 5 comments I agree that any scholarly work should be published under your legal name. If you fiction is science-related, I don't see why you couldn't publish under the same name - as a reader I'd appreciate an author with a solid background on the subject matter. Also, readers of your 'serious' work may get a kick out of the fact that you are a fiction writer.

Of course, if your fiction may considered controversial in any way, then you may want to keep both universes apart.

As for your first book, there are a few options:

1- If you are really, truly conflicted by it, then scrape it. Yes, it is a painful thought, I know. Call it your first pancake, chuck it to experience, and move on.

2- Come up with a pseudonym just for that first book. If you choose to follow your mother's advice, publish your future fiction works under another pen name that won't be connected with the first one.

message 11: by Jac (last edited Mar 03, 2015 07:43PM) (new)

Jac Fitzenz | 8 comments Regards the pen/real name dilemma, I've retired a year ago from an international consulting position during which I wrote 13 nonfiction business management books. I traveled, trained and consulted through 46 countries. Early in my career someone called me Doctor Jac and the name stuck. So, when I chose to write the first of what I hope will be a series on the life of a naval intelligence officer I toyed with which name to use. I chose Doctor Jac. I don't know yet if it is a wise choice, but my surname is somewhat difficult to pronounce and always brings up, "What kind of a name is that?"
I'm tired of answering the question.
Doctor Jac

message 12: by Renee (new)

Renee Marski | 4 comments I write under a pen name. I'm in the military so it's one of those kind of things. My family did ask me why I didn't use my real name and I told them it was because if I decided to write something more risky (i.e. erotica) I didn't want that attached to my real name for background check reasons. I love writing, but I feel better under the guise of my pen name.

message 13: by Jac (new)

Jac Fitzenz | 8 comments That is perfectly understandable. If I was still running my consulting business I would be sensitive to the same issues. Now that I'm over the hill anyone can think what they please.

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