Pen Name or No
Today's post has to do with an issue I have recently confronted in my writing -- whether to use a pen name instead of my real one.
A pen name . . . or nom de plume . . . as some say, is simply a made up name used in place of your real name as author of your work. There are reasons why one might want to do this. And reasons why one might not want to.
Why you may want to use a pen name:
Here are several popular reasons to use a pen name instead of your real one.
-- You want to change your gender. In certain genres, romance for instance, it seems that female authors are better received. This is particularly true if your main character is a female. And in other genres, thrillers perhaps, there is a preponderance of male characters. So you may want your author gender to be male. (These are just examples. I'm not trying to pick a fight.) If you're writing in a genre where readers prefer authors of a certain gender, maybe you want to switch yours if your God-given version isn't right for the task.
-- If this is your first book, you may wish to preserve your privacy by using a pen name. We all know that once our personal information is spread across the internet, it is widely available to anyone with nefarious intent. So privacy might be another consideration.
-- If you want your author name to have a certain pizazz, you could spice it up a bit. "Rocky Savage" may sound more masculine to some than "Tracy Ween."
-- Or you may have one of those given names that might be male or female (like Stacy, or Sean, or Jamie). And perhaps you want to make your gender clear for the readers.
Why you may not want to use a pen name:
Well . . . those are a few reasons I have come up with.
I'm currently trying to balance name recognition, with the potential to confuse (or even alienate) my audience, as I approach publication of a new novel in a completely different genre from my "Beck" suspense/thriller series. I'll be happy to let you know later what I decided to do.
If you have other reasons for using a pen name or not, maybe you'd like to leave a comment.
Thanks, Anita, for allowing me to share your blog . . . and your readers. All the best to everyone!
In addition to The 19th Element, he has published a second book in the “Beck” series entitled, The Missing Element, A James Becker Mystery. The second book is available everywhere.
The author has also been a long-time supporter and coach of youth volleyball in and around Red Wing and has authored three feature articles for Coaching Volleyball, the journal of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. His most recent article was the cover story for the April/May, 2009 Issue.
His book on volleyball coaching philosophies entitled The Little Black Book of Volleyball Coaching is available at http://www.johnbetcher.com/ and at amazon.com.