1. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    To Pseudonym or not to pseudonym

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by karldots92, Sep 16, 2016.

    Not sure if this is the right place for this question but something I've been wondering is how do people decide whether to use a pseudonym or not. I read somewhere that a lot of people who have a presence online other than as a writer use a pseudonym to separate them from their other online persona.

    I work as an Engineer but I have a presence in some professional forums as myself so I was thinking as a writer whether I should use a pseudonym and I was just wondering what other people felt on this. Also my real name doesn't sound very author-like so I think it'd be better if I did change

    Do other people use pseudonyms? If so how did you decide what to use?
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm sure that Mr. & Mrs. Dots92 would be turning in their grave to discover that their son, Karl, is too ashamed for his writing to be credited to his real name.
     
  3. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    Yes I do realise my username here is not particularly original or mysterious and its not that I'm ashamed more that my name doesn't roll off the tongue like a lot of authors.
     
  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I use one because my real name is unique--I'm literally the only one in the world.

    I'm not that good about keeping them separate (I keep replying to author emails from the wrong email inbox!) but it seemed like a pen name was the sensible thing to do.
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use pseudonyms. Usually a version of my real middle name plus either a family name or a name from the place I grew up.

    You can get them from anywhere - just play around and see what you come up with.
     
  6. Elven Candy
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    Elven Candy Contributing Member

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    I plan to use a pen name since I like having the choice to be invisible. I'm also tired of people always misspelling my last name (it's one letter away from a much more common name), so I plan to use a name that's easy to remember and easy to spell.

    Edited to add:
    You may find this thread useful:
    http://www.writingforums.org/threads/pseudonym-or-not-whats-yours.145153/
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
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  7. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I would never use a pen name. I've worked hard to be the writer I am. I don't care what my name is. It's my name and this is my work. Under another name, I would feel a little left out of the equation.
     
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  8. Laurin Kelly
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    Laurin Kelly Active Member

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    I use a pen name because for several personal and professional reasons, I like to keep my writing separate from my true identity. My pseudonym is a slightly different version of my own real first name combined with my maiden name.
     
  9. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    That's what I was thinking for my own pen name - an alternate version of my first name, my middle initial and my mothers maiden name.
     
  10. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    I'll be going for two initials followed by a surname (not necessarily my real one), it seems to be a successful format.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_literary_initials
     
  11. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I publish under a pseudonym as my work is a little dirty and profanity laden. When I began publishing I was also job seeking in my chosen outside profession. The wrong person in charge of hiring that could Google my name associated with an 'edgy' book may have not hired me.

    In addition, my real name is unique, frequently misspelled and I frankly don't much care for it.
     
  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'll use my real name, as I want people who know me to be able to find my book(s).
     
  13. Foxxx
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    Foxxx Member Supporter

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    My name is ridiculously bland and common: Kyle Smith.

    If I chose a pen name, it would be so that I'd be easier to find. Not the other way around. And now that this has suddenly come to my attention, I might do exactly that.

    Kyle Fox, or something.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  14. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    when I write I use a Pseudonym aka a pen name that way if I decided to write something erotic or with a great deal of sexual content no one will know that I wrote it.
     
  15. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    I use a pseudonym, at first to keep that separate from my personal life, but doing what i am now, to also keep it separate from my professional life too (I'm hoping to run my own Web Dev business at some point, so i'll need a break)
     
  16. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    I think I'd want to use a pseudonym (I'm not as rare as @Tenderiser but there are only 3 or 4 people around who have my name - one of us is a Canadian biochemist, another is a Belgian swimmer - or it the other way around?) But how does it actually work?

    Do you send submissions with a covering letter in your real name explaining they're to be published under a pseudonym, or do you just pretend to be Princess Awesomeness-In-Excelsis Shufflebottom from the get-go? If you do use your fake name... how do you get paid? I don't think you're allowed to set up a bank account in a fake name?
     
  17. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    The payment thing will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but at least some places you can set up a business account with the fake name essentially functioning as the name of the business. Of course, business bank accounts tend to cost significantly more than personal ones, so it'll depend how committed you are to both your anonymity and the business of writing before you decide if you want to investigate that route.

    In general, I think the more accepted way (and they way I've followed) is to use your legal name for business correspondence and payments and just ask your publishers to use the pseudonym for public consumption. If you become the next JK Rowling your real name will almost certainly be leaked, but if you're the next JK Rowling do you really care?
     
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  18. Laurin Kelly
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    Laurin Kelly Active Member

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    I was a full time belly dancer for three years and had a business account in my stage name both for personal safety and so I didn't destroy the illusion of my flowery stage name by having clients write out a check to my plebeian legal name. You basically operate as a DBA (doing business as), for example Jane Smith DBA Amisha Omri. However, no matter what your business, in the U.S. if a company is required to send contractors a 1099 tax form to prove that they paid you, you will have to provide them with your social security number which of course can be traced back to your legal name.

    But for writing I do the same as BayView - all correspondence payments between myself and my publisher reflects my legal name, and my pseudonym is used publicly for marketing purposes.
     
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  19. Carly Berg
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    Carly Berg Contributing Member

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    I use two main pen names and a third one slightly so far. They are each for different audiences so just having one might confuse readers.

    I wouldn't use my real name because I value my privacy over public recognition. Under pen names, I don't have to watch what I say because of who might see it - (past) employers, my kids, etc.

    That said, a pen name is only a screen, never a guarantee. But then to me, it's just a preference, not anything I consider top secret.

    On contracts, cover letters, bank accounts, etc. I use my real name.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  20. hummingbird
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    hummingbird Member

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    If I ever get published it will be under a pseudonym. In fact, I have two pseudonyms ready to go.
    My real name is for my professional life (which involves publishing in conferences and journals). My first pseudonym is for one genre I focus on. A second pseudonym would be for a different genre I've been dabbling in a little bit. There are many reasons to keep those three worlds separate and distinct, both for myself and for my readers (e.g. a fan of my work in one genre could see my name in the other genre and read it, only to end up very disappointed when it's not what they expected).
     

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