Earlier, I shared about the importance of establishing a name for yourself in publishing. One reader asked about pen names, or pseudonyms, and it’s a good question.
Some fledgling writers fantasize about using a romantic-sounding pseudonym . Others crave a more literary pen name.
Writers may have valid reasons for not wanting to use their own names.
Arguments for pseudonyms
- Protection: Perhaps you’re writing something sensitive and don’t want to be identified.
- Diversity: If you’re writing in two disparate genres, say vampire novels and Christian romances, you may want to use a pseudonym for one of them. For example, legal thriller author James Scott Bell writes about zombie lawyer Mallory Caine under the pen name K. Bennett.
- Editor’s request: Years ago, I wrote sports stories under a masculine pen name because the editor thought readers would find a male byline more credible.
- Avoid confusion: Maybe you have the same name as a famous author. You want to distinguish yourself from the famous author, but you don’t want to lose your priceless identity. Women could incorporate their maiden name. Men might consider using a nickname or their middle name.
Joyce K. Ellis, an award-winning author, has published more than a dozen books, including three novels, and hundreds of articles and short stories. In addition to serving as a Christian Writers Guild mentor and assistant director of the Write-to-Publish Conference, she loves encouraging women at retreats across the country.