Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nom de Plume

Lets talk about Pen names today.

They are quite useful in many cases. Like a mask, they help shield our real identity from the public. But why use one? As authors, don't we want notoriety?


Perhaps an author writes in multiple genre's and wants to keep each work separate. A pen name helps create this, sort of, separate brand.

Perhaps an author writes in a genre that they do not wish to have associated with their name. Erotica for instance. Some people may not want their real name attached to a risque genre like this. What would the ladies in the church group say if they knew Mary Jane was writing about sex? LoL. A pen name helps keep your social status safe.

Perhaps pretending to be a specific gender, will help books sell better. Maybe a male author wants to write romance and thinks a female name would sell better.

Perhaps the author's name just doesn't sound Author-ish. A pen name might be catchy which can translate to more book sales.

Perhaps it is just a simple case of anonymity. The author just doesn't want their real name out there.

Whatever the reason, pen names are quite useful masks that keep our real identities hidden.

Of course if you want to use a pen name, you really have to commit to it. To the public, once you have adopted a name, that is who you are.

Your name is your brand. People will associate your name, your genre, and your style as one entity.

Think about it. When you hear the name Steven King or J.K. Rowling, you know what to expect, right?

The same will apply to you.

Think about this if you are considering a pen name.


Ryan said...

I plan on using a pen name when it comes to various genres. Like Erotica for example. I do hope, however, that eventually my work will be able to stand out on its own, and that I can connect all of my pen names together. If not just for the sake of using one website. Lol.

Emma Hillman said...

I am writing under a pen name, although I kept my given name :) I don't think I could be called anything other than 'Emma', mostly because it'd be too confusing!

I chose my pen name for several reasons. One, I'm foreign so my family name would have looked odd amongst other authors. Two, I work full-time, and I'd rather not everyone knew of my side job! Three, the name I chose was my grandma's and somehow, it makes me feel as if I have the right to use it. I know my mother is proud I chose it, as if I was establishing my heritage in some ways.

Anyhow, that's my two cents on the subject! I do agree with you, however, in that you need to really think hard before chosing a pen name.

Willsin Rowe said...

I'm using a pen name simply because my own name is hardly a unit-moving sensual feast. Choosing one can be quite difficult. I didn't want to have a porn-star sounding name, but it needed to at least hint at naughtiness.