1. zilly
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    zilly Senior Member

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    Pen name

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by zilly, Mar 10, 2011.

    If you're planning to use a pen name, do you use that as your name for your bio or not?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I think you'd use your real name followed by your pen name association so people can get you straight.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it would depend on how anonymous you want/need to be... if you need to keep your identity a secret, the bio would be in your pen name...

    in many cases, now-famous authors wrote under pseudonyms for years and weren't connected with their old works till long after they'd become famous...

    in querying/submitting work to agents/publishers, you would use your real name for all correspondence, the pen name only going on the ms...
     
  4. zilly
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    zilly Senior Member

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    Thanks, Mammamaia. This is what I wanted to know. I figured that's how it worked.
     
  5. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    Is it better to use a pen-name or pseudonym than to use your real name. I'm wondering this because I'm quite a ways through my WIP and when I finish it I want to be able to either, put my real name on there, or use a pseudonym/pen name?
     
  6. zilly
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    zilly Senior Member

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    It depends. If you're writing for an audience that may not find you appealing -- say you're a female sci-fi writer -- you may want to change your name. Otherwise, it really doesn't matter. It just depends on how you want to go about things.

    If you're already published, you may want to use a pen-name to distance a particular work from other works...
     
  7. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just adding to Zilly's reply. Writer's Digest had an article discussing this months ago. Apparently, there have been several writers (writers who wrote as a secondary profession while holding down a normal day job) who didn't get accepted for a job because they wrote.

    The person reviewing their resumes looked up their names and discovered they wrote. They were then passed over for the position with the excuse, "How do I know you're not writing when you are supposed to be working for me?"

    Something to keep in mind.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it all depends on your reason for not wanting to use your real name... if you have a good one, then go ahead and use a pen name/nom de plume/pseudonym...

    and, as noted above, if you do, be aware that you will be 'outed' eventually...
     
  9. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends - who do you want them to write the cheques out to? to you or to your non de plume.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the name on the bio doesn't determine who gets the check... only the name used in contact info and for signing correspondence does...
     
  11. Mr_Swashbuckler
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    Mr_Swashbuckler Member

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    What are the rules for using a Pen name?
    Am I right in thinking this?
    Any name can be used as long as the name chosen doesn’t offend or upset anyone. Obviously your real name is used for anything contractual.

    Many thanks
     
  12. BoddaGetta
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    BoddaGetta Active Member

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    I am a female science fiction writer, which I know is often unappreciated by the readers I'm aiming at.

    My real first name is Peyton. Would I need to come up with a pen name, since my real one can be used by both sexes?

    I was thinking of pulling a JK Rowling and using my first two initials or something. I actually had no idea she was female until a few more books came out in the series.

    Or would sticking with my real name suffice?
     
  13. zilly
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    zilly Senior Member

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    I think it would be fine. If you get a good publisher, they will warn you if you're name will be an issue.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    stick with your real name... it's different enough to be remembered and that's a plus... gender shouldn't be an issue...
     
  15. Momo
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    Momo Member

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    Ah, a thread that reminds me of something I'm debating within my head! I have a question that I hope some of you can help with. I really want to write under a pen name. I love the name that I've developed and admittedly, I love the mystique behind using a pen name. There's just something so thrilling to me about, not only developing characters and writing, but also creating a persona to write under. Perhaps I'm just letting the excitement of this possibility cloud my better business judgment, but creating this other person and writing as them adds a layer to the author's (my) appeal.

    Sorry, now to my question: are there any potential risks involved when using a pen name? Is it looked down (or even encouraged) by some publishers/literary agents? In my own deduction, I've always assumed that what REALLY matters is the work, the story and the characters. When I try to determine the pros and cons about using a pen name (and in my case, a creative [obviously fabricated] name) I come out with only a single pro: an interesting name catches the eye on a bookshelf. After that, it's up to the text on the cover, back or inner sleeve to increase intrigue, then the story itself should completely envelop the reader.

    Any thoughts on my mindless ramblings? Thanks! :D
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the only down side is the minor hassle of having to deal with two names... one for the by line and your real one for correspondence...
     
  17. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    Can you use a pen name that you heard in a movie?
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you could, but it's not a very good idea, imo...
     
  19. Louis Farizee
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    Louis Farizee Member

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    I use Louis Farizee as a pen name so I can be who I really am, not who I pretend to be. If the people in my life saw my writing... well.
     
  20. Momo
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    Momo Member

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    I'm probably reviving a dead thread, and apologies if posting 2-months later is a no-no :(

    Though, I have a question similar to the last one that has been asked. Could I use a pen name that is extremely similar to the name of someone famous? For example, if I had the crazy idea of using the name "Lady Gaga" to write under, is that legal? Or, is the name technically taken to be published/make money under (since it's so unique)?

    Also, as a follow-up to the above question, how about a name extremely similar but slightly different, like "Lady Gagu"?

    Thanks for anyone who may be able to answer! :love:
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you'd probably get in some kind of legal trouble if you used 'lady gaga' or any other very odd name of a famous person who has plenty of money to sue you with...

    changing it a bit might be ok legally, but it wouldn't make you be seen as a serious writer, now would it?
     
  22. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    I have one supplement question to this, if I may.
    If I write a short story and publish it as an e-book only through my blog as a pdf. How do I claim a copyright to it if I sign the book under my pen name?
     

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