When Should You Use a Pen Name?

As a Writer, you’ve probably heard about pen names before. If not, well a pen name, also known as a pseudonym, is a name your book/work is published under. You may be wondering, should I use a pen name? Well that’s entirely up to you! I’ll list some situations below on when to use one.

1- Privacy

Let’s say writing is just a side-thing for you, or maybe it is your main job but you don’t want it too caught up with your personal life, this is a perfect situation to use a pen name. However, keep in mind that publishers will still get your real name as you have to sign legal documents to publish.

2- Confusion

If your name is pretty basic or common, you might want to use a pen name since many other writers probably published under that name and you don’t want your readers to be confused. You can simply check if your name is used by other writers by going on Amazon or Google and typing it out.

3- Branding

The name displayed on your book plays a big role in branding. Is your name suitable for the genre you’re writing under? For example, if you’re writing a horror novel, you wouldn’t want the name displayed on your book to be too soft or innocent sounding. You may be wondering if a reader would actually care about the author’s name. Well from personal experience as a reader, I’ve realized that I’ve done it multiple times subconsciously. So choose a genre you typically write under and brainstorm pen names that suit it.

4- Simplicity

Having a super long and complicated name is cool and all, but as a reader, would you pronounce a writer’s name that is too hard to pronounce? The easier it is to read the better, because not only will people read it out loud more often but they will probably remember a simpler names over a complicated one. So if your name is too long or hard to pronounce, I’d suggest using a pseudonym. This doesn’t mean that your pen name can’t be unique, just make sure it’s memorable.

How to Choose a Good Pen Name:

1Research

You can use online name generators, or go to a top 100 names list and write down your favorites. This part is probably the most fun when it comes to pen names, so enjoy it! I created my pen name by taking the first two letters of my first name and the last two letters of my last name. There isn’t any right way to do it. You could also write down a list of names you already like and work based on that. Or you could rearrange the letters in your real name- although not everyone will get a good name using this method. (Use a Anagram Generator to make this easier)

2- Use it

Now to make sure no one takes the name you came up with, set up whatever social media account you use with that name. If you’re planning to keep a writer’s blog, create a domain, and if you’re ready to publish, do it!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you for reading, make sure to check out my other posts to help you on your writing journey.

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