1. Writerlife028

    Writerlife028 New Member

    Dec 2, 2023
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    Submission Process Changing pen name on a published work?

    Discussion in 'Traditional Publishing' started by Writerlife028, Dec 2, 2023.

    I published a short story in a digital publication years ago. It is available for free on a website page. Back then, I wrote under a pen name I no longer use that I now find cringeworthy lol. Unfortunately, I was also in an abusive relationship at the time, and I thanked my abuser in the author bio section out of fear of what they would do if I didn't, and it's difficult for me to see that there.

    I've recently been getting back into writing and I plan to publish under my real name from now on. However, I'm really proud of that story, and I would like to mention it on my author website, but not under that pen name. I've been contemplating reaching out to the publication and asking if it would be possible to change the pen name on the story, and see if I could update or remove the author bio as well. I'm not sure if this is possible, but the main reason I'm afraid to ask is that I worry this will seem unprofessional and possibly have a negative effect on how I'm perceived by this publication, which I hope to submit to again in the future.

    So I wanted to ask other writers for advice. What do you all think I should do? Just let this story go and move on, or ask if it's possible to change the name/bio, since I'm proud of the story?

    TL;DR I've been considering reaching out to a digital publication where one of my short stories was published and asking if they could change the pen name on the story, but I'm afraid that requesting this will seem unprofessional, so I would like opinions from other writers on this first.
  2. w. bogart

    w. bogart Contributor Contributor Blogerator

    Nov 5, 2022
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    Acknowledge the pen name, and the work. Anne Rice lists all her pen names and works, even wikipedia lists her pen names.
    Based on what you have said about the issue, I can understand that it might be painful. But the past is past, don't let it rule your life. Learn the lessons from that stage of your life and carry those lessons as you move forward in life.

    When you are ready you can tap into those feelings and experiences, in your writing. It is a way to make your writing more powerful.
    Catriona Grace likes this.
  3. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Mind the thorns Contributor Contest Winner 2022

    Feb 24, 2021
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    Several choices here. Making a choice may depend on whether you are proud of the story for its own sake, proud of it because someone deemed it worth publishing on a website, or both.

    1) Contact the publisher and ask to change the pen name and update the bio. I don't see how that would be unprofessional as long as you don't go into a detailed and emotional explanation of the abusive relationship.

    2) Acknowledge the story, provide a link, and let folks following the link figure out for themselves you were writing under a pen name.

    3) Put the story on your own website and mention that it originally appeared in X Publication under an unspecified pen name (I assume all rights have rverted to you).

    4) Flip your hair out of your face, sing Let It Go, and pretend it never happened.

    I hope it all turns out well for you.
    Set2Stun likes this.

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