|Photo credit: Athanasius on Flickr|
So here’s a topic I’ve somehow managed not to cover, or even mention for that matter—pseudonyms!
Pen names are relatively common amongst writers and are used for various reasons, some of which include:
- Avoiding gender bias. Unfortunately this one really only applies to ladies, because most people don’t really think twice about reading a book written by a male author regardless of the genre. But unfortunately, there are people out there who won’t read books written by women. Or won’t read books of a certain genre written by women. Which I find infuriating, but that’s another post all on it’s own.
Oftentimes, writers will abbreviate their names to make them more gender-neutral in order to avoid this. J.K. Rowling, for example, famously chose the pen name J.K. over her name, because some boys might have been put off by reading a book written by Jo Rowling.
- Famous name confusion. If your birth name happens to be Barbara Kingsolver or Stephen Koontz or Nicholas Sparks, etc., then you may want to consider choosing a pen name to avoid confusion and awkward conversations that end in “No, I’m not that Nicholas Sparks.”
- Difficult to pronounce name. If your name is made up of mostly consonants or is otherwise difficult to pronounce, then that’s another reason to consider a pen name.
- Writing in multiple genres. As I understand it, this is usually only a reason if the genres are extraordinarily different, like, say, Middle Grade and Erotica. Or if you’re an Elementary school teacher who writes Erotica, and you don’t want your students (or their parents) stumbling onto your work. Or something of the like.
- Privacy and/or other personal reasons. Some people just like their privacy. Or have a variety of other personal reasons that lead them to choose a pen name. And that’s totally fine, too.
The only downside I can really think of using a pen name is that you obviously won’t see the name you were born with on the cover of your novels. But of course, if you chose a pen name, that was sort of the point. So.
Would you ever consider using a pen name (or do you already use one)? Why or why not?
Debating whether or not to use a pen name? Writer @Ava_Jae shares a couple reasons why you may consider it. (Click to tweet)
Would you ever consider using a pen name (or do you already use one)? Join the discussion at @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)