Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Should You Use a Pseudonym/Pen Name?

Pseudonyms, commonly known as pen names, are fictitious names that people use in place of their legal name. For writers, using a pen name is a personal decision. Each writer who uses a pen name has his or her reasons for doing so.

Love Thy Name

Some writers dislike there given name, whether it’s the surname, first name, or both. So they change it to what they like. Perhaps the writer thought their legal name was somewhat boring or not exciting enough. Or maybe the writer feels that she is a different person when she writes, so she names her persona and uses it as a pen name. Whatever the situation, writers sometimes change their name because they simply don’t like it.

Hide and Seek

There are very private writers in the world. These writers want to stay in the shadows for a short while or forever. The writer might be very shy and doesn’t like to be in the spotlight, or it could be that the writer wants to keep his past life private. Maybe the writer feels ashamed for writing a certain book and wants to keep things hush-hush. If a writer wants to hide his identity, what better way to do it than to change his name?

The author of the famous Harry Potter series used the pen name, J.K. Rowling. Her real name is Joanne Rowling. The “K” is for Kathleen, a deceased grandparent. It is said that the pen name J.K. Rowling was used so as not to lose male readers who probably wouldn’t have read her books, had they known she was female.

Pressure Medicine

In a British interview, J.K. Rowling hinted that after completing the Harry Potter series, she may use a different pen name to write other books.

Many writers decide to do this to lower the pressure. If you already authored a book, your fans may expect something similar, and just as magnificent as your previous work. Also, when a writer switches genre from one book to the next, there’s a true risk that your readers will dislike your new work. To relieve the stress, a pen name might be just what the doctor ordered.

And the Moral is…

You never need an excuse or reason to have a pen name. If you feel like using on, go ahead. It is not unusual for writers to have pseudonyms, and no one ever said it was a terrible thing to do. If your fans love your book, they won’t care if your name is Bugs Bunny, as long as you keep writing.

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