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Shaunna McLaren (shaunnareads) I was wondering if anyone uses/has used a pen name?

I'm very much thinking ahead at the moment, but I'm worried that my name is clunky and possibly unattractive to prospective readers of my novel, and so I've been considering a pen name.

Speaking from personal experience, author name has occasionally played a part in my decision to purchase a book - which is why I'm worried about my own name.

Do you think author name plays a part in a reader's decision to purchase a book?


message 2: by Camille (new)

Camille Dent (thecamillion) I think that author name can influence a reader's decision, just like the attractiveness of the book cover can. But remember that different names will have different effects on different people, just like some covers will draw some people in but not others. So make sure you keep in mind that your pen name, no matter how nice it may sound to you, won't sound as nice to some of your audience as your real name does.

I'm not trying to say don't use a pen name, all I'm saying is, the name your book is authored under will both attract AND repel people no matter what you choose. My advice would be to do whatever gives you more confidence and motivation as a writer. Some people enjoy knowing that their name is out in the world and known while others get a thrill from having a persona separated from their every day lives.


message 3: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 41 comments Shaunna wrote: "I'm worried that my name is clunky and possibly unattractive..."

For what it's worth, I like your name. It's not clunky. It's got a fun ring to it.


message 4: by S. (new)

S. Aksah | 25 comments I'm using my initial :)


Shaunna McLaren (shaunnareads) Thanks for the input, Camille! I guess it's always going to be difficult to please everyone. I'll need to keep that in mind! :)

Thank you, Dwayne! I'm not sure if it's my accent that makes my name sound clunky to me. I've always thought it sounded a bit awkward.

S.: I considered using my first two initials and my surname, but I'm not sure a name like that would be particularly attractive for the audience I'm writing for!


message 6: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan McElhatten | 21 comments I've thought of using a screen name as a pen name, similar to what Ryukishi07 did.


message 7: by Kat (last edited Nov 03, 2014 09:47AM) (new)

Kat Desi (katdesiwrites) | 15 comments Hi Shaunna, I think you will find THIS ARTICLE very helpful re: using pen names. Don't worry, it's short! :)

I use a pen name too - Kate/Kat Dessi - mainly because my surname is very long (16 characters).


message 8: by Roxanne (new)

Roxanne Shriver (roxannexshriver) I personally use a pen name because of two reasons. 1: My first name is very common. 2: My last name is hard to pronounce and remember.


message 9: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 41 comments Shaunna wrote: "I'm not sure if it's my accent that makes my name sound clunky to me."

I see you're from Scotland. To me, that would make the name sound better. Said in my mid-western American twang it would, indeed, sound clunky - but, then again, everything does.


message 10: by Shaunna McLaren (new)

Shaunna McLaren (shaunnareads) I'm thinking using a pen name might be the way to go by the looks of these replies! My name is fairly uncommon, so it would be a good way to distance my writing from the rest of my online presence, I think!


message 11: by Greg (new)

Greg Curtis | 7 comments Hi,

I use my own name. The only proviso I have is that I shorten it a little bit. There are already two other Gregory Curtis' out there as authors. One is a politician (Apparently not a popular one) in the US, and the other writes books about art history. I didn't want to be confused with either of them so I am Greg. (Besides the only person who ever calls me Gregory is my mother - and it usually means I'm in trouble!)

I also have one piece of advice about pen names. Use one or not - that's your choice. But don't use more than one. A big part of becoming a successful author is getting your name out there. Having two different names out there to promote is twice as hard.

Cheers, Greg.


message 12: by Ingrid, Just another writer. (last edited Nov 22, 2014 04:19PM) (new)

Ingrid | 929 comments Mod
I only use pen names when I'm posting a story that is beyond my usual tastes. Explicit romance, or violence.
And my most common pen name, Inkeri, is a play-on-words with my actual name.


message 13: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Jong I'm not sure if it would make a difference to a reader wanting a book. A reputation is built later.

If you think of company names like Apple and Virgin - when they started out, do you think people would do business with them because of their name?

When I started writing fiction, I first tried to write erotica and used a pen name to protect my identity.


message 14: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 601 comments Initials and surname works often enough, I can think of a few authors who have done so.

I'm not sure how the Copyright Office works in the UK, but in the US an author can list the use of a pen name while registering a copyright.


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