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  1. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    using pen names

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by madhoca, Dec 21, 2008.

    I want to use different pen names:
    1. My maiden name for my 'serious' novel
    2. A different pen name for historical romantic potboilers, since I've had some interest in a sample I sent off recently

    As far as I know, it's not necessary to copyright or register these names anywhere, right? (especially not my genuine maiden name--I've got a right to go on using it, even if my passport's in my married name, haven't I?)

    But it gets confusing when I contact agents and publishers. My e-mail and bank accounts are in my married name.
    Am I supposed to say: 'I would like to submit 3 sample chapters of my novel, "....." (90,000 words) written under the pen name .....'? or something like this?
    It'll get confusing for the agent/publisher to always be dealing with 2 names, but what can I do?
    Heeeeelp...
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...it makes no difference where you got the pen name from... you can use whatever name you want...

    ...all correspondence to agents or directly to publishers has to be from you using your current legal name, so you can get paid and cash checks... but if you have an agent, no one else will have to know who the pen names belong to, if you don't want that known... the agent is the one who'll accept payment and will then pay you, after deducting their commission, so there's no confusion and it's done all the time...

    ...in query letter, you don't have to refer to the pen name, as it will be the name that appears on the ms, but it would save them asking, to mention that you've written it under a nom de plume, in the letter...

    ...it won't be at all confusing to such folks, since they do it quite often and are used to the process... and the publisher need only deal with one name, if you have an agent... some writers using pseudonymns are never 'found out'...

    ...so, relax and don't sweat the small stuff... just write your book and let the pros handle the name switch...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah, I was wondering about that. So if I want to use a penname, I only have to put it on the manuscript, and they'll know?
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks, maia!
    My married (foriegn) surname is unpronouncable, but for one thing the postman needs it, so I've been using it AND my maiden name this year. Glad that doesn't brand me as an amateur.

    Now I just need to find a suitably old-fashioned romantic name for the other and check no one else is publishing with it!

    Anyone got any ideas?
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    mammamaia, just out of curiosity, if you publish under a penname, do you have to disclose it on your IRS returns where they ask if you are known by any other name? I've never used a pen name so I don't know the answer.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    rei... yes, as i explained further, above...

    salty... there's no need to confuse things on your tax return, since payment is made to you in your legal name...

    if you're famous and don't want the publisher or anyone else to know what you wrote [such as anne rice did with her borderline porn 'beauty series' written as a. n. roquelaure], you can give your agent a power of attorney and s/he will be the only one who knows it's you and will pass on the payments to you in your legal name...
     
  7. EmmVeePi
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    EmmVeePi Member

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    I know when I first got published I submitted the (short)story under my pen name. Once it was accepted I simply said, make the check out to *Real Name*. And there was no problem, they might not even have known it was MY name, it could have been my agents or anything for all they knew. Anyways there was no trouble of any kind.
     

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