Using a Pen Name as an Author


#1

Am I required to use my real name as the author of the work I create? Or is it alright to use a pen name?


#2

It’s completely up to you. I released UnNatural under my pen name.


#3

You can use a pen name. Mathew Bellingham (the writer of Unnatural) uses the name Sam Kabell (sorry if I butchered either of those names) as an author.

EDIT:

Lol, Ninja’d by the very guy I was mentioning.


#4

Lol I just commented on this. Great timing Sam :slight_smile:

You know what they say about great minds
:grinning:


#5

There actually one mind with two bodies, a bodysnatcher hive mind from another planet, or clones?


#6

Actually I’m two bodies who share a single mind it’s quite tricky let me tell you!


#7

@Nocturnal_Stillness @Samuel_H_Young Thank you very much! :slight_smile:


#8

I started writing as a teenager, so used a pen-name then (several, in fact). Usually Louise Curtis. I gave talks under that name, entered contests (my novel “Heart of Brass” was shortlisted in a contest, then published under a different name).

It caused endless confusion at conferences, not least because I could never remember myself who I was. Eventually I gave it up, and my life has been much simpler. It happens that my real name works pretty well - “Banks” is near the top of the alphabet (top shelf in bookshops) and easy to spell and remember (I’m a big fan of nouns as surnames) and “Felicity” makes it distinctive.

Gail Carriger (a novelist who writes fabulous steampunk fantasy tales) is branching out into stories of gay romance in the same universe, and uses “G. L. Carriger” for them. That way, fans can find both streams of her work but people who really don’t want to read gay sex scenes can easily avoid them (and vice versa). So, pen names can be a useful distinction between genres.

Pen names can also make it slightly harder for stalkers to find you. It’s very rarely an issue, but when it becomes an issue it hits hard (Gamergate…).

Ignoring all common sense, I have amused myself by writing loosely-linked stories in utterly different formats. Having a consistent pen-name helps to slightly dampen the rampant confusion.


#9

I rarely use my real name anywhere online. And never use my real surname unless it’s a legal requirement.

I usually go by Wynne Snoe, as opposed to Kris.
Wynne= fair
Kriss= ceremonial dagger or
Kris= derivative of Chris/Chistopher meaning bearer of Christ (aaand not a fan of that meaning.)

Not to mention I’ve issues with cyber stalking in the past so. There we go. My alias became my pen name :wink:


#10

I use a pen name and I think it’s something I’d generally encourage, whether to avoid stalkers or just for the fun of coming up with a name you really like. The only advice I can think to give for this would be to use a name that could easily pass as being a real name. Obviously it’s up to everybody what name they want to write under, but an author who writes under the name, “Knightmare-Shadow-Wolf-666” might not get taken particularly seriously. :yum:


#11

I’m another who uses a pen name. I’ve learned from experience that it can be… better to not let some people know when you’re writing, depending on who you’re talking to.

Maybe I’ve come to be a tad bit too distrustful but… there are pros to using a pen name.


#12

I’ve been considering that myself. Mixing my real name (which I use in my line-of-work) with the stuff I’m currently writing might be a bit problematic (not being taken seriously in my line of work kinda is a serious problem). The problem is, I only come up with really strange names. So, yeah, not sure about that. Still, thanks for everyone who shared their reasons for using a pen name, it helped me decide in favor of using one, just not sure about which.


#13

When in doubt, I just go through lists of baby names online. It’s the same when I’m naming characters too… Hopefully my boyfriend never goes through my browsing history and sees the amount of time I spend looking at baby names. That could be slightly misleading. :yum:


#14

Pen name, definitely, and different ones whether I’m working on interactive fiction/visual novels, mods for other games, or pen and paper rpg contributions.


#15

If it helps try and pick a name that has meaning to you. That’s how I picked mine.

Sam = the name of my first child who was unfortunately stillborn
Kabell = K (my dads initial) A (one of my moms initials) BELL (first four letters of my actual surname.)

So then name is partly homage to my son and a reminder of where I came from :slight_smile:


#16

Well, I’m here to give you one fantastic name of one Eusebius Carrothers, the same pen name i recommended to Fawkes. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#17

Vaughan was my grandmother’s maiden name, and I’m pleased to have distant Welsh heritage (Tolkien was Welsh on his mother’s side! :upside_down_face:) Alexandra was a name my parents considered for me, and I like the meaning (defender of mankind). Behind the Name is a good name website for looking for names by meaning, origin, or usage (also has a random name generator that’s pretty handy)


#18

I didn’t know Tolkien was Welsh on his mother’s side! I always thought that part of the family hailed from Birmingham for generations. Was it a distant ancestor?


#19

Well, I don’t have my books available to check my facts atm (most of my knowledge of Tolkien’s life comes from the Carpenter biography). It’s possible my American brain was overeager to make that connection a few years ago! But I believe I recall reading a paragraph about his fascination with Welsh words as mysterious yet personally connected to him, (kind of comparing that idea with his trying to write a truly ‘English’ myth, something strange and fantastical yet familiar). But we digress…


#20

It’s ok to pick up a Pen name.

Vaughan was my grandmother’s maiden name, and I’m pleased to have distant Welsh heritage (Tolkien was Welsh on his mother’s side! :upside_down_face:) Alexandra was a name my parents considered for me, and I like the meaning (defender of mankind). Behind the Name is a good name website for looking for names by meaning, origin, or usage (also has a random name generator that’s pretty handy)

Is it necessary? I think there’s no need choosing a meaningful name. Noone care but you.