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So, do you use your own name or a pen-name for your work?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm at that stage in my story where I'm seriously considering a cover and I'm on the fence regarding whether to use my own name or not. I have nothing against my real name - it's served me well these past (more than I'm willing to admit) years - but both the thought of seeing my name on a cover and the relative anonymity of a nom de plume are appealing. What was the reasoning behind whichever choice you made, real name or pen name?
 

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I used my real name on my romances because I wanted to see my own name on a book cover. :)

I write erotic romances under a pen name because I have conservative family members. 
 

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Nom de Plume all the way! :D

My real name (Emma Sweeney) doesn't work for trashy novels, imo, and there is already an Emma Sweeney writing books about gardening. There's also an Irish fiddle player called Emma Sweeney. I will be using a variation of my real name for my non-fiction (adding initials) books.
 

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I have a bit of a different situation.  My first two published books are self-pubbed poetry chapbooks, and I used my real name because I wanted to separate those from my fiction.  I'll be using a pen name for my fiction because there are  few others out there with my name, and I promised myself I'd pay tribute to my grandmother through my writing (she was a writer too) so I'm using her maiden name.  


 

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I write under my real name, and a pen name too. I write a different genre under my pen name. Under my real name - Felicity Heaton / F E Heaton - I write paranormal romance and science fiction romance. I wanted to keep those separate. I also have a name in reserve that I might use for YA or fantasy romance.

I went with my real name because it was unique in google, and it sounded fine and dandy to me. The reason I also write under F E Heaton, is because I wanted to keep my Vampires Realm series separate from all my other books as I knew I would be writing a lot of books in the series.

Felicity Heaton
 

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I'm an attorney in my day job, and while I'm certainly not ashamed of what I write, I would prefer to keep the two careers separate. When someone Googles my real name, they find the lawyer-me. When they Google my pen name, they find the writer-me. MUCH better that way.
 

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John Hartness said:
I use my real name because it's easier for me to remember.

Most days.
You don't remember your own name ???

I've got mine sown into the back of my jocks, I never forget it.
 

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I also use a pen name mainly because I'd get pissed with people butchering my last name, which is often mispronounced. Less trouble this way.
 

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I write academic stuff under my "real name," since I need that on the Real Life job market.

Anne Holly is my romantic fic self - I certainly didn't want someone to google me looking for a romance and find some boring academic volume... Or vice versa.

(If people can't easily find you in the genre they are looking for on google, they will google someone else.)
 

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At this point I have three pen names, due to publishers wanting different ones (only self-publish under the one, though).

None of them are close to my real name. I have a conservative day job.
 

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For me, it was my first name that is/was being butchered. I use pennames (plural). For the smut, it's a case of wanting some privacy for the family. But for the other genres, it was knowing how often my first name is mis-pronounced and wanting to avoid that problem.
C.R. Jakes said:
I also use a pen name mainly because I'd get p*ssed with people butchering my last name, which is often mispronounced. Less trouble this way.
 

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I write erotic romance and erotica under Lynn Mixon (my middle name) and I write romantic mysteries and paranormal romance without explicit scenes under Terry Mixon (my first name). My website has info for both names.

At this point, I've only had one short story included in a print anthology, but I wanted to set up the ground work so that people would know at a glance which of my stories have explicit content. I'm obviously not really hiding any of my identities. All this is for genre separation.
 

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Amanda Brice said:
I'm an attorney in my day job, and while I'm certainly not ashamed of what I write, I would prefer to keep the two careers separate. When someone Googles my real name, they find the lawyer-me. When they Google my pen name, they find the writer-me. MUCH better that way.
Yup, this. Even my non-fic, which is related to my career, I prefer to keep separate. If you ever want people to know the two are one and the same, you can always tell them ("...and her book, written under the pen name Mary Sue Author, ...").

--Maria
 

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Amanda Brice said:
I'm an attorney in my day job, and while I'm certainly not ashamed of what I write, I would prefer to keep the two careers separate. When someone Googles my real name, they find the lawyer-me. When they Google my pen name, they find the writer-me. MUCH better that way.
I'll third this reason. During the day, I'm a teacher (both for a public high school and for a few online universities). If I ever have to move, I'd rather not have to explain, in an interview, about the book where a few teachers die (coming out this summer). I also think my internal censor would stop me from writing anything, as I'd always be thinking, "my students are going to read this. And so might their parents."

Now, I've published poetry under my real name, because, let's face it, the general public just doesn't read poetry anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I hadn't realized how many people write under assumed names! The reasons are all sound and I'm not sure why the predisposition to using another name would surprise me. My book is currently set in a town I've lived in and it could be strange to be recognized as "that girl who writes about locals" when I go. Then again, it's worked for Stephanie Meyer and Forks, so.... *shrug*

I'm still torn on the subject but I have time to think. :)
 

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Pen name, pen name, pen name. You don't want to post to your author Facebook status that the cat coughed up a fur ball on the carpet, but you may still have an overwhelming urge to remark on it. That alone is a vote for keeping your private and public identities separate.

Plus, you can pick a pen name that people can spell (they can't spell my real name). But choose more wisely than I did. I keep getting referred to as "Neil."
 
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