1. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    How'd you pick your pseudonym?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by sunsplash, Jun 6, 2014.

    I went back over a year and didn't see this topic and since there's been some discussion recently over just their usage, I thought it might be interesting to learn how they've come about. So, for those of you that use a pen name, how did you go about choosing yours? Is it a play on your real name? Something simple? More obscure? True to your gender or gender neutral? When deciding, are there any recommended do's and don'ts?
     
  2. Inkwell1
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    Inkwell1 Active Member

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    Er, I kept thinking and developing a name in my head, and Inkwell emerged. Sadly, it was already taken, so my first though was Inkwell1.

    And now, I regret that I did not put in thInkwell, as I thInk that might've been a much more clever pseudo.
     
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  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    There was a thread sort of like this a long time ago, and I remember being surprised at how many people use pseudonyms. I've also noticed that a lot of new writers published in the past decade or so use pseudonyms (and/or they use their first and middle initials and spell out the last name). Is this a new trend? Because the thought of using a pseudonym has never occurred to me (not that I'm against it or anything).
     
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  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    For me, my author name would be my initials and last name once I get published. My full name is too much of a mouthful and even still I am not sure whether I want to use it or make up a pen name that's wasy on the English tongue with just a tad of uniqueness to it so it's interesting and perhaps more memorable than something you can't even pronounce :p
     
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  5. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    Pseudonym as in what you write under, not your screen name, silly. :p :)

    I'm guilty of this on Twitter. I have my first and middle initial followed by my last name...I did it that way because it's cutesy and rhymes but I don't think I'd publish that way. Gender ambiguity might be a reason it's popular. A male writer may not think he'd sell as well in a genre like romance or a female in a military espionage thriller, so I can understand that route based on stereotype alone. J.K. Rowling is the first person that comes to mind with this but Tolkien & Salinger did, too...so I guess it's not exactly new even if currently trendy.
     
  6. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Well... pen names are fun, I think. I thought of one that I might use, but it doesn't really seem like something I want to do exactly. It seems like a growing trend because it's kind of cool, being a little mysterious, having a "code name" and all that. Also, if the book does badly, your name isn't tarnished in the public eye, giving writers a little layer of security. At least for now, I'd like to have my name on my work. I don't care how well it does (or not so well). If I write something I can publish and be mostly proud of, then leaving my name on it makes sense to me.

    Anyway, to answer the actual question. I choose potential pen names in my head, almost like coming up with a character name. I think about how it sounds (the rhythm, the balance, the syllables), the impression it gives, an how well it suits me.
     
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  7. Inkwell1
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    Inkwell1 Active Member

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    Oh...ha ha...ha...hmm...I assumed they were generally the same thing...oopsie daisies! :)
     
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  8. WeWill77
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    WeWill77 Member

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    I'd been making up names for years just for fun. Started doing that through role-playing in video games because I thought it'd be pretentious to name the awesome hero after myself; i.e. some pale, spindly little 12 year old from Wisconsin. My NBA 2k14 player is named Septimo Santelli. Cause I like the way it sounds. I subconsciously pulled those words from my environment and didn't even realize this until I googled them. I thought I'd invented both. Septimo is 7th in Spanish, which I took 6 years of, and I probably stole Santelli from Rick Santelli, who's some talking head on CNBC.

    For my actual pseudonym, I made up two names that I really liked and put them together and I'm actually going to legally change my name. I also like names that are words rather than being names for the sake of names. My birth name was Michael. Sunrise and Falcon are going to become my middle names. But my first is going to be a conventional name just because I don't think people will react well to someone named "Sunrise."

    And for a last name, I picked one that's a less common English word because I wanted the surname to be something that sounded a little pretty, but was easy to ignore; which is what most people do with your surname. It seems like a person's last name becomes an identifier with little connection to the English langauge. It's more like a symbol for your books and your style rather than the name of you as a physical person.

    Unless you have a name like Tony Hawk (where your name is a common English word) then you kind of have to acknowledge that and own it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
  9. HealSomeBabies
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    HealSomeBabies Member

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    "Let's heal some babies!" was the catchphrase of my 7th grade math teacher who disappeared halfway through the semester. My friends and I would then use the words to psych ourselves up in times of uncertainty. The phrase has now become an artifact among those who were present and still remember.
     
  10. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I don't have my nom de plume yet, but I'm sure I will make one up if I ever get published. I like my real name, but it doesn't sound like a professional name to me. Sometimes you hear or read someone's name and think how lawyer-ly or doctor-y or authouresque their name sounds. I just don't get that feeling about my real name.
     
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  11. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    That's kind of how I feel too.
     
  12. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Since I write with @T.Trian, it somehow felt right to come up with one pseudonym, but of course it's possible that if we ever get published, both of our names would be on the cover kinda like in Eddings' or Garcia & Stohl's case.

    Or maybe we should do like Serge and Anne Golon did as on the cover it looks like the author is Sergeanne Golon :D. Or maybe not, 'cause then we'd be either Tonikatri or Katritoni... Yeah, that'd be terrible.

    So, T. K. Trian it is for now, a mesh of both of our names and surnames.
     
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  13. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    J. K. Rowling and E. L. James who you might be referring to here were both pressured by their publishers to hide the fact that they were women from the office of casual title perusal.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I dislike my real first and last names. But I love my middle name - Anthony - so my pseudonym will be Anthony something. Ideally, the something will be one syllable, and will have a sense of northness, because I'm from Canada originally. So it will likely be "North" or "Snow" or "Frost" or something like that.

    Of course, I might change my mind completely when and if I ever actually publish anything.
     
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  15. Vandor76
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    Vandor76 Contributing Member

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    My nickname comes from an email address I started to use long time ago to sign up on different websites and forums. My intention was to change the address regularly (if too much spam comes in) so I created the address as Vandor which means "wanderer". It turned out that the amount of spam can be handled so I stayed with this name.

    Sometimes even hungarians have problems pronouncing my real name correctly. Foreigners usually do not even bother to try and most of them can't decide if it's a male or female name. I will really need to choose a penname :)
    I already have a few ideas and I'm sure the first name will be borrowed from a friend : Robert. My name will be created so that it is easily remembered and pronounced.
     
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  16. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Plenty of early twentieth century writers used initials and surnames.
    T.S.Eliot
    C.S.Lewis
    E.M.Forster
    D.H.Lawrence
    Etc

    It seems to me the practice went out of fashion for a bit and has now made a resurgence.

    I'll probably use my full name unless I somehow manage to publish something I don't want my name associated with, but I don't quite know how that would happen.
     
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  17. Relegan
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    Relegan New Member

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    Well how say... I don't really know; it came from nowhere. This is not very original but this is how I found it: I was like : "find a pseudonym for this forum... Relegan!" And this is what I put...
     
  18. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    It was a play off of my real name. I simply liked the way

    Jene Perry Clyde sounded, it has this 1950s, noir vibe and feel. My real name is Jene. I also liked the idea off of playing with genders.

    Considering Jene and Perry are both unisex names, while Clyde is very masculine. So feminine, unisex, masculine.

    I don't know I just love the way it sounds. And I love doing my name in different ways:

    Clyde
    JP-Clyde
    J.P.Clyde
    J.Clyde

    Sorry obsession
     
  19. Wyr
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    Wyr Active Member

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    I'm a bit torn over what name to write under if I ever actually get published. I had always planned on using my initials and last name both because it was gender neutral and it just sounds good together. My first and middle initials are D. R. and my last name was German in origin (but not difficult to pronounce) and I always thought it had a "serious" sort of feel to it which I liked. Now that I'm married though, my name has gotten quite a bit more complicated.

    Where I got married it's traditional for women to keep their maiden names and just tack their husbands' surnames on the end of their own. I would have considered that, but I already have a middle name (which is uncommon there) and my husband has a three-word surname so doing so would have meant that my name would have been structured as first-middle-maiden-last-last-last, which is one hell of a mouthful. To make it more manageable I dropped my maiden name but it still left me with something that seems way too long to put on the cover of a book. Even if I condensed it down to just the initials and the last name (D.R.B.D. Spanish surname) it's still long and annoying to say.

    To be honest I would much rather just use the name I had planned on, but I'm worried that it might insult my husband's family (particularly my in-laws) if I write under my maiden name. :meh:
     
  20. Eedjii
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    Eedjii Member

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    Eh, if I ever get published, I think I'd just use my real name. For bragging rights and such :p
     
  21. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I'm still not sure. Since my work is controversial and I also want to keep it separate from my film and photography credits, I'm leaning heavily to a pseudonym. But if I do I'm not sure what it would be.
     
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  22. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    On the positive side my name is very straight forward and very easy to pronounce on the minus side it's pretty much the feminine version of John Smith.
    So if I did use my real name I would have to include my middle initial. However I don't really like the sound of L.B Smith which is what I'd probably use if I were to get something published tomorrow. If I did come up with a pseudonym I would definitely want it to be gender neutral and slightly less common.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  23. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I like Matt. Matt Selbbin. I can see it on a cover.
     
  24. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why gender neutral? I think that shows a certain disrespect for readers. It's very hard for people to talk about a writer when they don't know what pronouns to use. For the sake of the readers (your fans!), please let them know your gender! :)
     
  25. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    I probably worded that wrong. I meant not obviously female. I used to have the habit of avoiding books written by women back when I read YA because I grew tired of all the love triangles that seemed more common in books written by women. I'd hate for someone to pick up a book written by me and then avoid reading it for similar reasons.
     

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