Pen names

July 20, 2010

What do J.K. Rowling, Mark Twain, C.S. Forester, Lewis Carroll, George Orwell, Robin Hobb, and Jae have in common?

They are all writing under a pseudonym. Here’s a great article about pen names by Lori L. Lake.

Some writers use a pen name because their real name might be difficult to spell, pronounce, and remember. English-speaking people would never be able to pronounce my last name correctly, and even German people spell it wrong on a daily basis.

Pen names also provide a certain privacy and anonymity. I don’t want the first thing my clients find when they google my name to be my romance novels.

Some writers even use multiple pen names for different genres. That way, readers know to expect something different and won’t be disappointed if the new book differs from the author’s usual style. For example, Jennifer Knight writes romances under the name Jennifer Fulton. She uses Rose Beecham for her mysteries and Grace Lennox for her “modern” romances.

Personally, I don’t plan on using more than one pen name. It’s difficult enough to manage just one. Apparently, my brain switches to “Jae” when I’m writing in English and I often accidentally sign my English e-mails “Jae” even when writing to friends who call me by my first name. 🙂


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