Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pen Names - A Good Choice or No?

     Someone recently introduced me to a website for Author House Self-Publishing.  The website is full of articles with tips for writers.  I sat down earlier this week and read several of the the articles.
     One of the articles was on whether or not to choose a pen name.  There are many reasons to choose a pen name and, for several authors, the idea is appealing.  Many of the ideas I hear expressed from wanna-be writers were listed in this article...as bad reasons.
     Hiding your identity, according to Author House, is a bad reason.  While it is appealing to think that you could write something and no one would know that you wrote it, it's a little immature.  You should be willing to stand behind your work.
     Picking a cool name, according to Author House, is also a bad reason.  Unless you really know what your are doing, the name that sounds awesome to you may not sound awesome to the general population or it may not sound awesome for very long.  So, again, if you are going with a pen name just for this reason, that is also a little immature.
[A random photo I took earlier this year.]
     Author House does believe that it is a good idea to use a pen name to avoid a pre-conceived notion inspired by your name.  For example, if you live in an area where your book would be discounted based on the sex or ethnicity of your name, then a pen name is not a bad idea.  If you were already well-known for a very different genre or career, then a pen name might be a good idea.  And if your given name is so distinctly opposite of your genre, then perhaps you could choose a pen name that better fits.
     If you do pick a pen name, Author House offers these 5 tips (I added punctuation), "Keep it professional. Make it genre-friendly. Make it reader-friendly. Make it pronounceable. Make it unique."

     P.S. If you want to read Author House's own articles on the subject, below are the 2 addresses to find them.

http://www.authorhouseselfpublishing.com/authorhouse/marketing-tips/authorhouse-investigation-how-to-market-your-book-using-a-pen-name-part-1

http://www.authorhouseselfpublishing.com/authorhouse/marketing-tips/authorhouse-investigation-how-to-market-your-book-using-a-pen-name-part-2

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