Real name vs pen name? Is one better than the other? Why or why not?
For me, it depends on a few things:
- How hard is your name to spell, pronounce and remember. You can use your real name if it is hard to spell, pronounce and remember! I always support people who go for it and make others learn because it is your name and you deserve to have it spelled and said correctly. However, I can’t fault anyone who might want to use a different family name, a shortened name or even a new name for their own.
- Do you want anonymity? If you have a work life that shouldn’t mix with your creative life, maybe you want to keep it separate. Maybe you don’t want your family knowing what you write. Maybe being a famous writer isn’t your deal. Alls’ fair there.
- Are you already established in another genre? If you write multiple genres, you may want to have a pen name for new books in the new genre. Reason being, these are new audiences. New people that will want to read your books. Maybe some will overlap, maybe some won’t, but it would be nice to have a following that isn’t disappointed that your next book out is sci-fi when you usually write romance.
- Do you want one? Then go for it.
Which would you use? Real name or pen name? Why?
Right now, I use a combination of my real name and pen names. Right now, I am thinking I will have four distinct pen names:
This one, for my adult fantasy (and maybe my YA fantasy, but I waffle on this).
One for my horror/thriller/suspense stories.
One for the series I might end up self-publishing.
And the last possibility is to have a separate YA pen name all together.
The reason I want to have three is because I think that fantasy and horror have some overlapping audience but not enough that if I were to get published by a trade (knock on wood), I wouldn’t want my readers to hear I was putting out a new book only to find out it’s in the opposite genre.
It’s the one reason I lean toward having a separate YA pen name. I tend to write novels quickly, so I think I might be able (if all goes according to my dream plan) to publish under each pen name at least once every 18 months. That should keep a good cycle going.
The self-publishing pen name is strictly for business reasons. If I do end up self-publishing a series (and erin really tries to turn me to that side with all she learns about it!), I’d want it under a different name in case it goes belly-up.
This pen name is basically my real name with acronyms and my last name shortened. It allows me to keep some anonymity – which I really want at this point in my writing career – but also has enough of me in it that I don’t feel like I’m someone else. That’s why I use it for my favorite, main genre of fantasy.
My horror/thriller/suspense name is a family surname with my middle name. I think it would fit in the genre conventions and is short and catchy enough to be memorable. That and no one else seems to have a name quite like it yet so, gold.
Words Written: 10,050 words (all in the thriller)
Chapters Completed: 3
Favorite Scene so Far: Mae once again getting into a car with Vince. When will she learn that she can’t keep her lunch down with his driving?