Reply To: Using a Pen Name

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Daeus Lamb


People generally create a pen name because:

  • They think readers have a bias against female authors so they make their name sound more masculine or gender neutral. I have no strong opinions on how true this is, but if you go this route consider using initials to hide your gender instead.
  • They want to remain completely anonymous. If that’s you, you’ll need to take many other steps to maintain anonymity.
  • They think it’s cool, or just what you do, or it’s more humble. (I disagree with all of these.)
  • Their name is hard to remember or spell. Imagine if a big fan of yours is on a big podcast and he or she mentions you as their favorite author, so a bunch of people try to look you up online but can’t find you because your name is hard to spell. Tough luck. Maybe you should have used a pen name.
  • They want to create distinct brands. For instance, I write fantasy. But say I wanted to write historical fiction. I would at least consider publishing my HF under a pen name to keep my brands separate.

If none of these (or the third category) apply to you, I recommend using your real name.

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