Would you, or wouldn’t you?

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is off to a good start for you, with lots of creativity flowing in all your ventures!

A writer friend and I were talking this morning about how easy it is to create a pseudonym if you are publishing via Amazon. Anyone who has ever signed up for Amazon to review a product or book can pick a Pen Name, or the name they want the public to see, just by going to his/her public profile page. (Here’s mine as an example.) To add a pen name or alter your public name, just click on  “Edit Activity Settings,” and a box will pop up. Your real name will still be used for anonymous settings like bank accounts and payment information.

I haven’t tried it, personally, with my books because I want my name to be associated with them! But my friend has contemplated using a pen name with a romance novel she’s working on. Having the option of a pseudonym does seem to open up possibilities if you’ve ever felt awkward about working on something “risqué” like a romance or erotic novel. Perhaps you have young children and don’t want them reading it one day because you’d feel embarrassed. Or maybe you’re a public figure in the church or in politics, and it would cause a scandal! Or maybe you’re writing a self-help book about how to deal with the in-laws but don’t want your in-laws associating it with you. Who knows?

There are plenty of self assured writers who use their real names and feel perfectly comfortable writing whatever comes naturally to them. But for those writers who feel the need to be anonymous, a pen name is a great option. Look at George Eliot, who ditched her female name to be taken more seriously as an author. And there are writers who, alternatively, go by just their initials to avoid being assigned a gender (or even ethnicity!). What do you think? Would you ever use a pseudonym?


4 thoughts on “Would you, or wouldn’t you?

Add yours

  1. Happy New Year Louise.

    Great blog post, interesting question, I have thought on it when thinking of my own work.. I think there is a good point to using different names like if you go from writing children’s fiction to say writing something purely for adults. You may not want the two under the same pen name. But I think it just come done to what feels right to the individual writer.

    I hope you had a lovely new years.

    Take care.

  2. Hi Katie,
    You make a great point. If your fans are used to you writing one way — say, science fiction — they might be confused if they see your name on children’s fiction as well. It could be a good plan to have one name for each genre, or at least present your name differently; perhaps just use one initial instead of your first name, etc…

    Thanks, Katie! Hope you had a nice New Year, too!

  3. Good question! And, as you and Katie suggest, it can be a good idea to use a pseudonym if you have a good reason to. I don’t use one, although I wish I had a shorter name and prettier signature when it comes to signing books ;o)

    1. Ha ha! I did wonder about using a more “genre-friendly” name if you are writing for romance versus sci fi. Say, “Louisa Dang” versus “L.J. Dang,” for example…

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