No argument here. I use a pen name to distinguish between my stories for adults and those of middle-grade age. I want readers to have some idea what to expect.JRTomlin said:Mark Twain is a pen name. George Eliot is a pen name. Louisa May Alcott used the pen name A.M. Barnard. Stephen King used the pen name Richard Bachman. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte used the pen names Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Alice 'Alli' Sheldon used the pen name James Tiptree Jr. Some people consider the practice of many women using initials, including myself and the rather better known Joanne Rowling, to be a form of pen name.
There have been accusations that using a pen name is always unethical but obviously I disagree. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a pen name. Fraud on the other hand is wrong whether you use a pen name or not.
I do have a beef with phoney author bios too. Rowling also came to mind.Lynn Is A Pseudonym said:Pen names are good.
What JK Rowling did with Galbraith that kicked up a stink? Not good.
Author bios are "biographies" and most reasonable people (am I right?) think that bios are a nonfiction element of even a fiction book. Therefore, lies in biographies are fiction of the lying kind.
There's a very fine line between acceptable and unacceptable deception with something like that.
My preference? If you want to lie in a bio, then be upfront and tell me not to trust a word of it. In that case, I'd probably just laugh and move on, because the assumption becomes that you're telling me a lie and I'm in on the joke. Otherwise, it's just a joke at a reader's expense.
I like your bio and I think that's a good way to go about it.she-la-ti-da said:Yes.
I have a gender neutral/male pen name myself. It's tricky doing bios and stuff without coming right out and saying I'm actually spreading girl cooties all over some dude's SF, or without claiming to be a guy and saying guy stuff. But I'm not exactly hiding it. See below. I'm also not going around talking to men as if I were one, and then using what they say to me for whatever reason. That's just icky.
Thank you! I thought long and hard about how I was going to present my "self" to the world, and decided it was best to tell the truth, but in such a was as to fit with the pen name persona. It just wouldn't feel right for me to claim to be something I'm not.JulesWright said:I like your bio and I think that's a good way to go about it.
I also like gender neutral names. It actually fits me personally. So when it doubt I could always go with initials, or a name like Kelly or Pat or something that could go with either gender. I consider my name to be gender neutral and I don't ever use the legal more feminine version of it.
It's rare, but I do agree with all that.jb1111 said:It's all part of the "brand", isn't it?
People choose pen names to promote their works. And they usually choose something that either is memorable or fits the target genre somehow.
I have no problem with the dudes taking on female pen names to write their romances. I don't do it (I don't write in that genre), but I don't care if they do it.
It must work as a tactic, or they wouldn't continue to do so. It's the same with the phony bios used. It's all part of the marketing, all part of the branding. If it didn't work, they wouldn't continue to do it.
Some of the other stuff mentioned here on KBoards -- male authors using female pen names and asking female readers to tell their secrets -- yeah, it looks creepy. But that goes above and beyond writing/branding/marketing.