Why use a pseudonym?

Definition

Screenshot 2017-04-10 21.17.55.pngA pseudonym is defined as “A pseudonym or alias is a name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which can differ from his or her original or true name (orthonym). Pseudonyms include stage names and user names (both called screen names), ring names, pen names, nicknames, aliases, superhero identities and code names, gamer identifications, and regnal names of emperors, popes, and other monarchs.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudonym.)”

Authors who use a Pseudonym

I have read several authors who write under different names because they want to write different series. Here are just a few authors who have used a pseudonym:

Screenshot 2017-04-10 21.17.05.png

A.A. Fair    aka   Ernie Stanley Gardner

Anthony North/Aaron Wolf aka  Dean Kootnz

Clive Hamilton aka C.S. Lewis

Nora Roberts aka JD Robb

Mary Westmacott aka Agatha Christie

Richard Bachman aka Stephen King

But . . . Should you use a pseudonym?Screenshot 2017-04-10 21.16.33.png

This is a good question.  Nora Roberts used a pseudonym because she was such a prolific writer and wanted to stretch her creative muscles. Ann Rice who wrote the Vampire Chronicles, wanted to write a new genre as well, she wrote a couple of erotic books. Jayne Anne Krentz said the reason she used a pseudonym was to find a name that provide to be the most successful as far as a author.

But should you use a pseudonym?  Well, it really depends on your reason for using a pen name. There are good reasons and bad reasons:

Good reasons:

  1. Your writing could interfere with other aspects of your career
  2. You have a history of failures
  3. You have the same name as a famous writer

Bad reasons:

  1. No one will respect me because I am a ________.
  2. I don’t want anyone to know I am writer.
  3. I’d like a name that reflects my inner self.

Remember that using a pseudonym is different that legally changing your name.  This is a name that goes on your work. Sometimes it is on your contract and you need to have an understanding with your bank so that you cash your checks.

It is not a bad thing to use a pseudonym, however you need to have good solid reasons for using one on your work.


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