Posing under a different face
- Your name is your brand, and like all brands you need to sell. The benefit of a pseudonym is being able to choose a name besides your own. We weren’t all born with killer names that market themselves…sometimes what’s in a name is not one we’d want the whole world to know us by. There are many reasons you wouldn’t want to keep your own name like perhaps over the years you can only count on one hand how many people have pronounced your name right straight off the bat-That would be my name. People lose interest when they can’t pronounce a name or my favorite is when they accuse you of spelling it wrong. Yes because I could control how my name was going to be spelled when my parents were signing my birth certificate!
- When gender comes into question, it’s the age old sex contest. Men vs. Women. For centuries it’s been hard with men leading the job hunt and undoubtedly leading the fiction world. It’s a can of worms and up for debate (but let’s not get carried away) still how many women have felt pressured about being a woman in a man’s world?
- Another age old-the genre shift, even I am guilty of this one. It’s not unheard of that writer’s will use different pen names to sell different projects. Sometimes it’s to dissociate themselves from the fact that they’ve stuck to a genre for years and their target audience and dedicated readers would not appreciate the change. Others like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have used pen names as an experiment to see if they could still attain a bestseller without their usual brand name on the cover.
- Anonymity, shhh…nobody has to know it’s you. You never know in this day and age whether you want your name associated with something especially if you’ve painted family and friends as characters in your book and probably not shed them int he best of light.
- Fear of failure, do I really have to explain this? Have you ever lied about your name or age and felt the freedom and exhilaration of it? You’re limitations seem to melt away and your potential unrivaled, maybe you in the everyday sense would never write an erotic fiction novel but maybe your other half (the one you’re pretending to be) might.
Famous writers who’ve used a pen name in the past
If you don’t know them then you probably have not been awake in the last century.
- J.K Rowling as Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling is also a pen name)
- Stephen King as Richard Bachman
- Daniel Handler is Lemony Snicket
- Judith Rumelt is Cassandra Clare
- Theodor Seuss Geisel is Dr Seuss
- Erika Leonard, born Erika Mitchell is E.L. James
- Mary Ann Evans is George Elliot
- Eric Arthur Blair is George Orwell
- Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr. as Perez Hilton
- Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden as Robin Hobb
- Stanley Martin Lieber as Stan Lee
Next week I’ll be listing the disadvantages of having a pseudonym