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  1. A.P. Kadmus

    A.P. Kadmus New Member

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    Pen Name

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by A.P. Kadmus, Jan 23, 2017.

    Anyone using one, and why? If not would you consider one?
    I think it's an important part in marketing and sticking in minds. If I use my real name no one English could pronounce it. Also I think some names are genre specific (like you can give a list of 50 established authors and I can tell you what genre they write in with pretty good accuracy even if I know nothing about them).

    And can a name be too creative? What if it's a name you never heard of, would that put you off from buying the book? Like if the person's last name were Keegan?
     
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  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    I can't ever remember reading or not reading a book based on the author's name. Remembering it later is another matter...
     
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  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I've heard of loads of Keegans!

    I don't take the author's name into consideration when I browse or buy books. I don't think tricky pronunciation is a problem either - Chuck Palahniuk has done okay, and Khalid Hosseini, and a bunch of others. The only time I think a name might be a problem was if it was funny in the wrong way, like Smellibum Fartpants (Mr and Mrs Fartpants had an unfortunate sense of humour).

    I use a pen name because it seemed a sensible move to separate my day job professional life from my author one. My surname is extremely rare outside of one Asian country so I kept that and chose a different first name.
     
  4. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Like @Tenderiser, I use a pen name to separate my real life from my writing life, although my real name is probably fairly memorable.

    However, and I know I'm going to burn some credit by admitting this, an author's name may make me less likely to read a book for a couple of reasons. First, if it smells too overblown or too much like a pen name (or porn name), such as Remington Steele or Porsche Lovelace, I'm going to make assumptions about the writing style and may steer clear.

    Second, and this is the dicey part, if it sounds very...ethnic...there's a part of me that was raised in the whitest part of the loaf of Wonder Bread that's going to wonder if I can relate to it. I'm not proud of that, and I do my best to look beyond it, but I honestly expected The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi, to be centered in Brazilian culture. Silly me, it was dystopian Southeast Asia, but I doubt that I'm the only one who made that assumption.

    I guess what I'm saying is you need to take a look at your genre and the expectations of your target audience. If your real name is Mack Stormer , the romance market is probably not the place to proclaim that, while Ms. Syvlia von Featherworth should probably consider a pseudonym for her series on hard-bitten soldiers of fortune fighting in the African wars of independence, no matter how solidly researched it is.
     
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  5. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    That's a really good point. Even though I don't care about names, if I wrote hard sci-fi I think I would probably use an initial so it wasn't immediately clear I'm female. Whether my worries would be justified I don't know, but I would be worried...
     
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  6. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Plus initials rock, cram as many of them in there as you can (if you're writing fantasy :) )
     
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  7. Rani99

    Rani99 Member

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    I'm glad that I saw this topic. I haven't thought about pen name yet, but I definitely need one ( my last name was unpronounceable for my friends, that are english speakers ). But how to choose one? I have no idea how it should look like. For a first name, would Rani be ok?
     
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  8. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Haven't seen your profile, but Rani sounds female to me. If you wanted to make it more "English", you could go with "Ron" or "Ronny" (male), or "Ronnie" (female). Nothing wrong or overly weird about "Rani" to me, and that's just my two cents, others may disagree.

    ETA: And I see you're female, so I guessed right the first time. Thought it was maybe Indian though, sorry.
     
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  9. A.P. Kadmus

    A.P. Kadmus New Member

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    That's prob a good idea and I think you're right to be worried. Likewise I don't want to be known (immediately) as a man if I write romance in the future. I've read what people had to say on the matter already in regards to expectations and stereotypes (in regards to genres and genders, going both ways).

    I thought of using the name A.P. Cadmus to write sci-fi. "A.P." are the initials of my actual name and "Cadmus" is a minor character in my stories and also a mythical figure credited with bringing the alphabet to the Greeks.
    But I want to write sci-fi romance in the future too.

    Do you think that's a good pen name for sci-fi and romance? Or is it too "overblown"? I am Greek so Cadmus doesn't seem odd to me. However it is typically a first name. But James is a first name and I notice people use it as a last name in English.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
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  10. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I know next to nothing about Greek or romance, but if I saw A.P. Kadmus (or Cadmus) on a book, it wouldn't set off any of my (stupid, juvenile, racist) warning bells.
     
  11. Adam Kalauz

    Adam Kalauz Member

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    My real surname is Smith.
    My wife's maiden name is Kalauz. (Actually, it's Kalauzova, because Slavic surnames have a different ending for males and females)

    I think Adam Kalauz sounds significantly cooler than Adam Smith.
    Also, Adam Smith is already a famous author, so </tongue-in-cheek> when I become the next JK Rowling, there won't be too much confusion </tongue-in-cheek>
     
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  12. Homewriting

    Homewriting New Member

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    I actually write under two different names. One for my normal writing, such as different genre's of fiction and stuff. And another for more adult oriented stuff (because the erotica stuff does sell). That way I keep two different types of writing seperate, and I can focus on each Pen name without having them attached to the other.
     
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  13. Katharina Souvatzis

    Katharina Souvatzis New Member

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    I totally agree with this!
     
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  14. joe sixpak

    joe sixpak Banned

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    A lot of people go by the authors name. If it says Patterson there is already a million book market ready to sell into.
    If your name was Jamerson and had the same identical book you would have a tougher time promoting it.
    Rowling was the exception with her pen name that still was a best seller in another genre.
     
  15. joe sixpak

    joe sixpak Banned

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    I would have a separate pen name for each genre that was written.
    And also to provide some privacy should I become famous.
     
  16. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Slipping away across the universe Contributor

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    This would be my reasoning for a pen-name.
    Actually, when i was writing poetry through elementary school through high school, I used "J.T Woody" as my pen name because partly because my last name was long and another reason was because I was actively writing on DevianArt and didn't people I knew to know it was me. My poetry back then was really dark. They werent graphic or inflammatory, but I didn't want people giving me the side eye.

    That name went on a hiatus in high school, when, out of habit, I signed a poem I wrote for my english class "J.T. Woody" and my (male) english teacher pulled me aside after class and said it was alright to have a pen name, just not THAT one because its "suggestive" and "you know how teenage boys think" and he didnt want me to get picked on. That was the first time i'd ever looked at my pen name (which is really a family nickname because its the shortened version of our name) and thought of it as suggestive.

    I'd use a pen-name again (not this one) for the reason of disassociating my personal life with my writing. Short stories would have my full name, though.
     
  17. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've never thought of your name as suggestive until you mentioned it just now.

    I still don't find it suggestive, but thinking back to when I was a teenage boy.... yeah, even Mrs. Potatohead looked vaguely flirtatious at times.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'd always wanted to use my own name - I wanted people to know I wrote these books. However, now I'm starting to consider the reality of being known all over the internet (ok I might not make it as a writer but you plan for success or why bother, right?) and I realised it's actually kinda scary. In this day and age, anyone can find you, look up your details, stalk you. I dunno...

    On top of this, I work at a school and am about to embark on teacher training. Now i write for adults and I usually will have one sex scene in my books - just one - but... As a teacher, I am not sure if even that might become an issue.

    All in all, starting to rethink. I might want a pen name after all. But how on earth do you come up with one?!
     
  19. Reece

    Reece Senior Member

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    My real name is far too unique for me to even consider it. In the unlikely event that I am ever published, I also don't want a back page picture. I'll probably go with the first initial of my nickname, then the initial of my middle name, and then my husband's last name which is very generic white person.
     
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  20. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Mine is a partial homage to my favorite author, Iain M. Banks. You want something memorable but not too hard to spell (Aschendale may have been a mistake, but it's unique, not a real family name but sounds like one). Something that will fit on a book cover, and something that represents who you want your author persona to be. IIRC, you are of Chinese extraction, as they used to say, so you might want to choose something that shows that. Or conceal it, if you're worried about people pigeonholing your work as "Asian" fiction. I wouldn't judge either way.
     
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  21. Laughing Rabbit

    Laughing Rabbit Active Member

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    I'm definitely going to go with a pen name for the sci-fi books I want to write. I haven't fully decided if I want to use initials or a gender-neutral name yet, but it will be one of those. My real name is common enough that I've found three different writers - none famous - with my name. My dad actually found one of them, and thought I had written the book because it's a genre I would write, but I disappointed him and said it wasn't me.
     
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  22. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I would be inclined to read a book written by a laughing rabbit. :)
     
  23. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    My name is also highly unique. If you put my full name into Google, I am the only person who comes up. It's because my name is composed of English first name, Chinese middle name, and Czech surname without the feminine ending lol.
     
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  24. XRD_author

    XRD_author Banned

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    It's depressing that one of the major consequences of the internet is this level of toxicity in our society, and how the fear of it silences people.

    Anonymity is both sword and shield. It's dangerous to be yourself on the internet.
     
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  25. Reece

    Reece Senior Member

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    Same, only my middle name doesn't matter because my first name is something my mother jimmy rigged together from my grandmother's memories. I'm pretty sure you can google my first name and will find me, though the last I checked my name was ending up in name books for some reason. Maybe I'm not the only one anymore. If it didn't make me cringe badly, I would check, though I've been working for years to homer my name back into the bush.
    [​IMG]
     
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