Monday, November 10, 2014

Pen Names - Do You Have One?

I don't - at least not yet. When I started on this wild ride called, "publication," it didn't occur to me that a pen name might be advantageous.

By the time I discovered another writer in the general market with the same name and living in the same state, it was too late. I would have had to start platform building from scratch and that wasn't happening.

Authors use pen names for many reasons:

1.  Some wish to protect their privacy.
2.  Others want to protect their families.
3.  They want to select a name that works better with their genre.
4.  They want to avoid confusion if they write in more than one genre.
5.  In my situation, distinguishing between two writers with the same name.

Questions to ask yourself:

1.  Are there other writers with your name? Do a Google search for authors with the same/similar name. Also, enter your name in the Amazon search box.
2.  If your book becomes a blockbuster, will you be comfortable having your real name plastered everywhere?
3.  Do you have an extremely long/unusual name that readers might have a hard time remembering?
4.  Are you planning to write in more than one genre or to produce both fiction and non-fiction?
5.  Will using my real name endanger my family?

I might consider a pen name in the future - especially for a different genre. For now, I'll be around as the real me, Susan J. Reinhardt. :)

Writers:  What are your thoughts concerning pen names?

Readers/Bloggers:  Being on the Internet presents many challenges. How do you protect your privacy?


Carol Garvin said...

I have a pseudonym that I originally used for my painting... Carean (which later became Careann when I registered it as my kennel name). The anonymity seemed desirable, and I kept it when I first started blogging in 2008. In later years it caused a lot of confusion and I wish I'd never started with it.

When I finally began owning up to my real name, I discovered there is one other Carol Garvin in Florida who is also a painter. I ended up adding my middle initial to differentiate, and that worked reasonably well.

I think if a person became a very successful author in one genre and then wanted to explore a radically different genre, that would be the time to consider adopting a pen name. Otherwise I don't see the point.

Karen Lange said...

Right now I am using my name, but someday I might consider a pen name. These are great points to consider. Thanks for sharing, Susan!

Terri Tiffany said...

I like my real name and think it's easy to remember. As to making problems for my family, oh well, they say be careful what you do to a writer or you might end up in one of their books!

quietspirit said...

When I was attending a writing group, we did an exercise in selecting a pen-name. I have one in mind. I beleive I am a long way from needing one.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. I think you're probably better off without one - it keeps things simple and you're not trying to remember to swap emails, web addresses etc ...

So til you really need one - I stick with your Susan J Reinhardt - as you're doing ... cheers Hilary