1. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Submitting under pen name questions...

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by HeathBar, Sep 25, 2020.

    I've followed the back/forth on here re: whether to use a pen name, but I've already decided to do so for various reasons. For those that are querying/submitting short stories, etc., do you actually query/submit under the pen name? Do you say it's a pen name?

    I've set up a gmail address with my pen name, as well as a twitter handle, etc. (also reserved the domain name, if I ever get around to making a web page). My inclination would be to query/submit under the pen name, but I'm wondering if I need to (or should) disclose that it's a pen name on submissions.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Traditionally, my understanding is that when you're submitting and dealing with editor and agents, you want to include your real name as well as pen name in the submission. For example, the pen name in the by line under the story title, and the real name in the author details that are usually at the top of the first page. Or you could say something like (writing as "pen name") in the by line.
     
  3. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    Your publisher and agent, etc. must know your real name. You don't get paid otherwise. They have to know who you really are to file taxes. However, they're not going to tell anyone and you can publish under whatever name you like. Having a pen name isn't a magical formula to complete anonymity. That's simply not possible in reality.
     
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  4. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Thanks much, very helpful. Not looking for (or expecting) any magic or complete anonymity. Just suggestions from a practical standpoint of how/if to include it in a submission that isn't too clunky or distracting. Based on Steerpike's note, I'm thinking I'll submit under my pen name (using my pen name email), but note my real name in the author bio part, but writing as Pen Name.
     
  5. More

    More Active Member

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    Pen names are used for a number of reasons, but it is not a false name , as used by criminals. When dealing with publishers or the tax man ,you should use your real name .
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I would use your real name on the submission form (if they have one) and wherever you provide your contact info. And then mention in your cover letter that you want to write under pen name "Supersoolguy." I would use an email address with your real name to correspond with the places you send your work, though. You're not trying to conceal your identity from publishers. You'll have to sign your real name on the contract, and there will probably be a lot of messages that go back and forth leading up to publication. Also, if you want to use a pen name, your publisher is going to have experience with this most likely so I don't think you have to worry to much. Even if you had a piece of writing accepted that you submitted just under your real name, I'm sure it wouldn't be a big deal to change your byline to a pen name before anything is printed. All I'm saying is that you will have time to work out all the details with your publisher. But I strongly suggest using a real email and your real name where appropriate when dealing with publishers.
     
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  7. Vandor76

    Vandor76 Senior Member

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    I already decided on my pen name. Not because I want to remain anonymous, but because my real name is long and hard to pronounce or remember.
    I've read somewhere that most of the successful politicians, who achieve high positions have short and/or easy to remember names (with the notable exception of a certain Californian governor). I think this applies as well to musicians, actors, writers, and all kinds of professions that need fame to earn money.

    On a book cover, you need a good name. On a contract and when submitting you need your real name.
     
  8. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Thank you @deadrats - that makes sense. The querying I've done so far was all done with my real name, real email, etc., etc. But I'm getting closer to submitting a short story and I guess I was less sure about how much back/forth there was in that process and how I should approach it. And this is 100% right:

    Not at all! My thinking was more to avoid clunking up the initial query/submission with oh, btw, if you publish this I want it to be under THIS name. It's a distraction. My question was more of a "when/how do I bring this up?"
     
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  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I would give a brief mention in the cover letter. Then, when your story is accepted there most likely will be a lot of email conversations with the editor. There will be time to get into all that. Also, the places I submit short stories to take a good amount of time planning issues so your story might not run for months. I had one place take a year after a story was accepted. The last place I sold a short story to will be running it early next year. It's not something you have to rush to explain. It's not like they've never dealt with pen names. They are going to know what to do, and I'm sure they have a way of handling this sort of thing.
     
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  10. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    You'd be surprised how many people want that though. I keep seeing people posting on Reddit that they don't want to give their real name to anyone, including Amazon. Then I guess you're not going to be uploading to Amazon, are you? I don't get the abject paranoia of some people, but there you go.
     
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