1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Do you write under a different name?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Link the Writer, Oct 24, 2014.

    I've noticed that some authors would often write under a different name then their own for a variety of reasons, so I was curious if any of you did the same. If you do, why? How did you pick your 'author'-name (for want of better word)? Do you find it easier or harder to write under a different name?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I write under a pseudonym. I like my real name, I think it's pretty. But it sounds like the offspring of two romance authors and I generally don't write romance stories. And though I don't think you should judge a book by it's cover or author I think subconsciously people do.

    I also like the element of privacy. It's not because I write things that I don't want to be linked to, I just like keeping two identities. I'm a bit of a loner so I like the idea of having a bit of a barrier.

    I chose Edi Marchen for now. The name goes back to the early 90s. In my first novel ( in early outlines ) a district in one of the cities was called Edamarchen when this was dropped, I renamed a character - Edimarchen and dropped it again. ( I'm a sucker for Ed names - Edgar, Edmund, Redmund, Ned, Edwin. ) It's kind of a homage thing. I don't know if I'll stick with it or not. I took a lot of flack from my family for not seeing my name on my self-published book cover. Everyone was like - who the hell is Edi Marchen?
     
  3. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes I write under the name "Central Park". Other times, it's "Mid-City Mall". Still another time, I wrote under the name "Precinct 5". Most of the time, depending upon the genre, I use any one of four names. Each one is a variant on my name or family names. None of them is my legal name.

    As peachalulu pointed out, privacy is a very big issue and it's easier to hold onto it if your name is not splashed all over the place. No getting calls from total strangers at 3:17 a.m.!

    And, too, in some publishing houses that regularly market things like monthly romances and 'paperback of the month' type fluff, they will often take the cover name on a particularly popular series and basically have any number of people writing for that same series and under that same name. So, if you are marketing to such and audience, you especially do not want to give away your name along with your work! You definitely want to use a pseudonym.
     
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  4. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    With the ease of searching people on Google these days I chose to use a pseudonym to keep a distance between my fiction and my reality. If a potential employer is searching my name and finds out I write erotica or a book containing references to a religion they may not like it could be a detriment. People have their biases and you never know when your writing may be a negative.

    As for the name, I chose a surname from my family tree coupled to my middle name.
     
  5. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I use a nom de guerre for erotica (a female name, since I mostly write erotica for women), but my real name for everything else.
     
  6. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Yes, because I hate for people to know anything about me before I tell them. I picked it using my initials and my favourite kind of car. It's much easier for me. I can't imagine seeing my ugly surname on a book cover.
     
  7. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    I use a pen name, mostly because I have a foreign language name, which amongst other things would make it hard for people to pronounce and write. English is actually my "main language" (in lack of a better term) anyway, so in a way you could say my real name is misrepresentative.

    Because I'm not hiding anything, I decided to be quite practical about the name decision making. I ended up choosing "Blaine Munday" as my nom de plume. Firstly the initials are the same, and the two subsequent letters of my surname are the same as well etc. It's also short and easy to understand, but not into John Smith territory either, so it's nice and balanced like that. Being a perfectionist I tried different variations and combinations before settling on this name. There were many reasons involved, such as which names I like, which are already taken, how many letters they have, how common they are, what connotations they might have and how they work in parallel with my actual name.

    There were four people/characters who were particularly important, however:

    1. My brother's given name translates into English as "Day", so I put that in there because he's basically my favourite person in the world, plus, as his surname is the same as mine, "Munday" is essentially my brother's name reversed and squashed into one name.

    2. Jason Munday from my favourite wizard rock (music inspired by Harry Potter, which I'm a huge fan of) band, Ministry of Magic.

    3. Blaine Anderson from Glee, played by Darren Criss (who also has a couple of interesting connections to Harry Potter); since Darren is straight and Blaine is gay, I feel like this fits, as I'm bisexual.

    4. Blake Myhee (which you can see is a similar name, and he also looks like me and has the same birthday and accent) is the adoptive father of one of the MCs in my first novel, and, although he doesn't himself appear in the book, he's very important to it, and is amongst other things in my universe's canon the narrator of most of the book in the same way you could say that in real life I am the narrator.

    To answer your last question: I don't think about the name at all when I write. I have found, though, that I have become very attached to the name, and I'm sure I would react just the same if someone shouted my pen name in the street as my real name. And if I ever go to a Starbucks abroad I'm sure I'll just say me name is Blaine ("I don't care if I'm a sell-out, I just want my coffee NOW!").
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
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  8. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    I like the style of one of my favourite poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who sometimes signed as 'Esteesee' (variably spelt). Like a phonetically spelt out initialism (?). I'm not sure if there's a specific term for this type of word; perhaps someone else knows. I guess it's only a semi-pseudonym, as there's still a large clue to the writer's identity for anyone bothered to look.

    My own version of this has a fortunate ring to it, so I'm attracted to using it for at least some of my works. The spelling I've selected also happens to be a verb from a non-English language, which, while not entirely relevant, wouldn't give the wrong connotation altogether.

    I'd have two reasons to use a pen name (both of which others have mentioned): "pro-privacy" and "prevent preconceptions" (yay for alliteration!). A pseudonym generally can't fully address either of these, but might minimise damage. I like the gender-neutrality of my selected name, although some might (falsely) assume my ethnicity as matching the non-English language in which it's a verb. Not yet sure how to feel about that: I'd love to be an entirely blank slate (probably impossible, given the prevalence/strength of preconceptions), but I also like sneakily misleading people.

    Having said all this, I'm mindful that an exotic pen name might deter many, so I'm not 100% committed - it's something I'll investigate before implementing, as I'd prefer to maximise my audience. My desire for a pseudonym isn't strong enough to discount publishing under my real name (my surname is actually appropriate for a writer).

    I don't think a pen-name affects my ability to write at all, as the ultimate decision would be made when the work was finished (for me anyway). I'd potentially use different pen-names for lines of work in different genres/styles (I like to explore) - I've done this with music - but I suppose they'd only reflect different aspects of my overall identity, all of which I'm comfortable with (well... as comfortable as I ever am with myself).

    That raises the issue of current works being compared to previous works under the same name. You could use a new pseudonym to avoid that, but I like the idea that you could use pseudonyms to manipulate such preconceptions (perhaps even to deliberately create dissonance - The Casual Vacancy is quite jarring if you've just finished Harry Potter).

    This post makes me feel very self-inflated. I actually don't care heaps about my public image (as long as people don't spit on me in the streets - that was a depressing phase :whistle:); it's more just the fun of exploring language use that attracted me to writing in the first place :)
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I love the name, Edi Marchen. It's made me want to find a better pseudonym than my real name.

    I don't care if people find me. That would be fine with me. I'm debating if I want to hide my gender strictly for the issues attached to new female writers.
     
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  10. Mike Hill
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    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

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    My real first name is very close to Mike. Real last name has nothing to do with Hill, that comes from my favorite series King of the Hill.
    My school isn't the worst but still you wan't to be known as the writer. At least with the guys that's the attitude.
    Also I use to think that I should change my names to English version like the immigrants did because English speakers have a bad time trying to say my name. Then I read Schwarzenegger's book. There he said that you can turn all your oddities from negatives to positives.
     
  11. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    My WIP will be published anonymously as a matter of principle (well, several principles). Not that I think every book should be anonymous, just that this particular project is a very unique type of work that lends itself best to anonymity.

    I might actually publish it under the name of the protagonist. Which would still technically count as anonymous, but it would make sense since the story is told in first person.

    I cannot think of a reason why I would ever want to use a pseudonym. Maybe I will discover reasons if I continue to write.
     
  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I've thought about this, and decided that when my novel goes public (soon!) it will be under my real name. Which, unfortunately, is triple-barreled. Not in a hyphenated snooty-upper-crust sense, but because I intend to use my maiden and married names. I want people who know me, or knew me, to be able to find my book!
     
  13. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I write under a pseudonym. This is mainly because my first book was true life and I needed to change the names of everyone in there, especially my children as the book is about adoption.

    When I decided to start writing fiction, I them had a choice to make, stay with the pseudonym, use my real name or pick another one. I decided to stick with the pseudonym.

    It is pretty strange that some people only know me as Elaine (pseudonym) and sometimes if people call me that, I forget that they are talking to me ... But on the flip side, I rather enjoy being two people. (I'm also a Gemini, which helps)

    I'm also aware that makes me sound like a mad person!
     
  14. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    Yes I do write under a pen name and I do prefer to write using my pen name instead of my regular name.
     
  15. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have three different pennames. Which is another advantage, one that I don't think has been mentioned yet.

    Your name is your brand, and you may need to have different brands depending on what you're selling. So I have one name for m/m romance, one for m/f romance, contemporary YA and contemporary NA, and a third one for fantasy and YA fantasy. It's a pain to keep STRONG social media presences for all three names, but I'm not sure that a strong presence is always an asset. And I'm playing with the idea of acknowledging the connections between the names, so I could have one 'master persona' that would subsume all the sub-names. Not sure if I'll do that or not...
     
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  16. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I actually write under a guys name on another site. I wanted to see if I would be taken more 'seriously'. Peachalulu sounds kinda flighty. An interesting thing happened. Someone commented on one of my stories and said that from a woman's pov they were a bit uncomfortable with my ending. I lol-ed. Part of me likes using a male pseudonym but part of me feels stifled using it - I find myself going whoops - this doesn't sound like a guy. I rethink every statement.

    Are there issues with new female writers? Is it a genre thing? I imagine guys have it equally hard if they want to write a romance. Though Nicholas Sparks seems to have done okay.
     
  17. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    I use Adenosine. It got it from the neurotransmitter of the same name, which promotes sleep and is blocked by the stimulant drugs caffeine and theobromine. Thus, it represents both energy and calmness.
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think it's genre and reader specific and likely only affects a small percentage of the readership.
     
  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If you search Amazon for gay male erotic lit, you'll find a plethora of female author names. I'm left in the dark as to whether this is really the case or if men are using female pseudonyms in order to sanitize the "dirty guys writing for dirty guys" image? I have no idea, no research other than noting the large number of female names for clearly boy-on-boy stories.
     
  20. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most m/m romance and erotica is written and read by women.

    There's some frustration from some gay male authors wanting to write, presumably, for other gay men, and some attempts have been made to segregate m/m romance and erotica from gay literature (which may or may not be romances or erotica).

    ETA: There are actually quite a few women in the field who use male pseudonyms, so the number of female authors is actually even higher than it initially appears just by looking at pen names.
     

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