Do you write under a pen name? And if so, why?
An article in Writer’s Relief lists reasons why writers choose to adopt pen names. It could be, as they point out, that another author “owns” your name. For example, it would be difficult for someone named Agatha Christie to write under her real name.
Or, as a high school teacher who writes erotica, you’d want to conceal your identity. I hope.
Or maybe, you write in a genre that has basically a male audience and you are a woman. Joanne Rowling used the initials J.K. (K after her grandmother Katherine) because she feared that boys would not want to read Harry Potter if it was written by (horror!) a girl. Similarly, Mary Ann Evans used a male name because she wanted to be taken seriously and wrote under the name of George Eliot. Of course, that was in the 1860’s and that doesn’t happen anymore, right?
Should you be interested in using a pen name you might want to consult Ellen Sedwick’s Self-Publishers Legal handbook for the legal aspects on using a pen name .
Here are some well known pen names:
Amanda Cross: Carolyn Gold Heilbrun
Isak Dinesen: Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke
Ann Rice: Howard Allen Frances O’Brien
John le Carré: David Cornwell
And pen names that hide more famous real names:
Rosamond Smith: Joyce Carol Oates
Richard Backman: Stephen King
And there are authors who write under several pen names.
Click to read an excerpt from Marie Lavender’s latest book.
What are your thoughts on a pen name for yourself?