WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Writing Craft > Publishing

Publishing Ask and post advice about the publishing process. Discuss new media and options.


The Use of Pen Names

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 05-26-2010, 04:28 AM
Karolina's Avatar
Karolina (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,591
Thanks: 63
Thanks 55
Default The Use of Pen Names


I have a question that might be silly but I'm really not sure how it works. I never thought of using a pen name until recently. Still haven't come up with one, and not 100% sure I want to use it, but I like my privacy and I don't want certain people to know it's me just yet, therefore the pen name idea. Anyway, if you submit something for publishing, do you submit it with ONLY your pen name, or do you tell the publisher/magazine/agent/etc that it's a pen name, and let them know your real name? This question came to me because I thought if someone where to buy one of my stories, how would they pay me? Obviously my pen name is not my legal name, so I couldn't cash a check under it. How does it work?

__________________
If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun - Katharine Hepburn

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-26-2010, 05:38 AM
alyiakallen (Offline)
Pencil pusher
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 17
Thanks: 1
Thanks 2
Default

There are two ways you could do this. The first is to submit with your real-name (so they can pay you) and give them a pen name to use. This is also the option I recommend as it's free and fairly simple.

Now, if you don't want publishers know who you are, you COULD purchase a DBA (doing business as) and open a bank account under that name. But as I said, I don't recommend this choice unless it is a name you plan on using and you worry about your real name slipping outside the publishing houses (which it shouldn't).

Give them your real name - oh, if you're worried about family (not sure if you live with them or not), you could also buy a PO BOX and list that as your mailing address. All pretty simple if you're wanting to remain anon.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to alyiakallen For This Useful Post:
Karolina (05-26-2010)
  #3  
Old 05-26-2010, 07:14 AM
Karolina's Avatar
Karolina (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,591
Thanks: 63
Thanks 55
Default

I think I would go with the first one, telling them my real name and asking them to use a pen name. In the unlikely event that I ever do become a well known author, I am sure that my name will "slip out" at some point, but I think then I would be ok with it, just now I would like to be able to have more freedom in my writing and not worry about who will read it.
__________________
If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun - Katharine Hepburn

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-26-2010, 08:53 PM
J. Newman's Avatar
J. Newman (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 409
Thanks: 92
Thanks 44
Default

I tend to employ a num de plume for most of my bestiality and necrophilia based erotica lit. Wouldn’t want to risk losing my day job at the vets, or the night shift work at the morgue.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-27-2010, 06:40 AM
Karolina's Avatar
Karolina (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,591
Thanks: 63
Thanks 55
Default

A wise choice.
__________________
If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun - Katharine Hepburn

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-27-2010, 08:50 AM
Lin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Homo-pedo-bestiality, the last closet.

Karolina, I have done a LOT of phonynym publishing and here are some points on the matter:

There are several levels of anonymity and it's very important to sort them out in advance and know what you're going to do or you'll screw up.

1. Open secret. Everybody knows that Richard Stark was really Donald Westlake and so on. It's just a brand.

2. Public secret, publisher and agent are in on it and presumably keep it quiet. Poor security, if nothing else. It puts the publisher and agent in the position of having to lie or stonewall.

3. Secret from the publisher, but your agent is aware of it. This puts your agent in the position of guarding your secret from clients. It's easy enough because publishers pay the agent, who deducts her ounce of blood, then sends a check to you in your own name.

4. Your secret alone. This keeps anybody else from having to cover up your story (or being able to leak it). It has it's problems. How are you going to do a signing? How are you going to cash the check?

5. The last level is the most difficult. You yourself don't know that you're actually writing under a different name. Not for beginners.

Some of these levels suggest themselves due to reasons you want a pen name. If you're trying to play hanky-panky with taxes or welfare or something, 4 is the only option. If you're a real case for the books, you might already be doing 5 and just not know about it.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to For This Useful Post:
Chazzhart (06-04-2010), Karolina (05-27-2010)
  #7  
Old 05-31-2010, 10:37 AM
ZombieGenesis's Avatar
ZombieGenesis (Offline)
Copyist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: England, UK
Posts: 53
Thanks: 0
Thanks 2
Default

I have no real reason to try writing under a pen name but will probably do so because it looks like fun~ Also because my name sucks grapes and I don't want to have my photo put on anything.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-31-2010, 12:13 PM
Lin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Zombie genesis? yeah, that's a tough one. If you want a good pen name, I'd suggest Parker. Bic sounds kind of cheap.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to For This Useful Post:
Master ACE (06-16-2010)
  #9  
Old 06-04-2010, 06:11 PM
Chazzhart's Avatar
Chazzhart (Offline)
Profusive Denizen
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Where the dingos eat babies
Posts: 275
Thanks: 52
Thanks 28
Default

Good post. I have been thinking about this a lot recently (not that I have anything to put a pen name on yet)
I think I would like to use one just in case my friends and family read my work and thought it was bad. Lame excuse I know but one I think I will stick with.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-04-2010, 07:19 PM
Nay's Avatar
Nay (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Singapore
Posts: 134
Thanks: 10
Thanks 11
Send a message via MSN to Nay
Default

For the life of me I want a decent pen name but cannot come up with one.

The irony of this being that I have a different nickname on two forums, and a fake name on livejournal, email and facebook that are different from those.

i have people calling me by some strange internet nickname, and other people calling me Nay. You'd think this would be easy, but no it isn't.

I need something close to home but I can't think of it.

I'm going to go with what someone said here that they're too proud not to use their real name. However given a choice, if i could come up with a decent pen name i would probably use that.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


My novel is here
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.
-Paracelsus
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-06-2010, 04:38 PM
Treez77's Avatar
Treez77 (Offline)
Copyist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Auburn ME
Posts: 43
Thanks: 4
Thanks 4
Default

What exactly are the advantages of Pen names? Never really understood why someone would use them.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-06-2010, 04:42 PM
Lin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Many reasons
Personal safety, insecurity, two different kinds of titles, tax fraud, protect divorce payments, beat a blacklist, have a stupid name (or one with negative or heavily branded connotation)... need any more?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-06-2010, 05:33 PM
Treez77's Avatar
Treez77 (Offline)
Copyist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Auburn ME
Posts: 43
Thanks: 4
Thanks 4
Default

lol no I'm good
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-11-2010, 08:07 AM
ScribblerKing's Avatar
ScribblerKing (Offline)
Eloquent Troll
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Scribble Town USA
Posts: 346
Thanks: 42
Thanks 59
Default

Why not go with a varation of your real name like "J. Smith" for example...allows for some difference and distinction and it never hurt JK Rowling any...use a middle name in there too maybe like "J Anna Smith" or whatever...its different but its still you...

I have two of these varations that I have used in published writing: one for when I might publish something in a newspaper or magazine (non-fiction) and one for when I especially lucky and publish fiction.
__________________
"I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." --Mark Twain
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-11-2010, 03:55 PM
Rae D. Magdon's Avatar
Rae D. Magdon (Offline)
Let me introduce myself
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: New York/Connecticut
Posts: 10
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

There is another thread about this same topic, but I figure I can make a similar post here.

There are many advantages to using a pen name. An obvious one - none of your relatives will rush out to buy your book, causing you embarrassment. Everyone has at least one relative they wish would keep to themselves.

For me, there is another reason. I don't want my name to show up on google related with the lesbian content of my fiction. I am a Christian, and while I have made my own peace with God, my sexuality, and my religion, if members of my church discovered that I like to write lesbian erotica in my spare time, it would be inconvenient to say the least.

A final reason - when I have children, I definitely don't want them reading what I write. Awkwaaaard.

An interesting side note, the lesbian publishing market actually encourages the use of pseudonyms. I know very few people that publish under their own name, although a few of the more popular authors with lesbian publishing companies have an "open secret" about their real identities. In general, using your real name is highly discouraged because it can put you in awkward situations with your family, friends, and even in the job market.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- A Writer's Journey
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-11-2010, 04:04 PM
SophiVengeance's Avatar
SophiVengeance (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Funkytown
Posts: 1,703
Thanks: 25
Thanks 50
Default

wouldnt it be cool if your pen name was

Alfa Kenny Buddy

xD!
__________________
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement."

Last edited by SophiVengeance; 06-11-2010 at 04:06 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-11-2010, 06:43 PM
CountBlah (Offline)
Pencil pusher
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Neverland
Posts: 21
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Everyone here, even the ones who don't understand the need for a pen name are on a forum under an assumed name. (except of course ZombieGenesis ).

An internet forum is one thing, writing professionally is another. If you are considering the possibility of eventually getting paid for your work you are obviously serious about this. If this is important to you, why not be open and proud about it. You should not have anything to fear from being who you are. Sure, some people will dislike you, but that will happen either way. At least if you are honest about who you are and what you believe, people will (dis)like you for who you are. The alternative is people liking you only because they don't know you. You choose.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-11-2010, 09:12 PM
Lin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Well, as stated a couple of times earlier, there are reasons other than fear or shame to use pen names. You've narrowed it down, and are applying your narrow view of it to others.
Speaking as somebody who is honest enough to use their real name, by the way.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-12-2010, 10:38 AM
CountBlah (Offline)
Pencil pusher
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Neverland
Posts: 21
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Yep, there are other reasons, and anyone of course should ultimately make their own decision. But my impression is that most people (the original poster included) seem to be just shy. To them I offer a word of encouragement.

Lin, it's ok if you have other reasons that, I'm not judging.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-12-2010, 10:54 AM
Lin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Don't tell me, tell my secret identity.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-12-2010, 02:38 PM
Aric Isom's Avatar
Aric Isom (Offline)
Always Online
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Sunny Southern California
Posts: 2,428
Thanks: 84
Thanks 59
Icon4

Everyone here, even the ones who don't understand the need for a pen name are on a forum under an assumed name. (except of course ZombieGenesis ).
I use my real name on everything I do because I feel that if I am ashamed of doing it then I just won't do it. Even here.

Now on another note. Some people call me AJ, so I've been thinking of using A. J. Isom on my books. The only problem is that my son goes by AJ all the time because he is a Jr. What should I do? Everyone calls him AJ, not everyone calls me AJ...
__________________
Aric Isom

"As Iron Sharpens Iron - So Does One Person Sharpen Another..." ~ Solomon
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-13-2010, 04:52 PM
Rae D. Magdon's Avatar
Rae D. Magdon (Offline)
Let me introduce myself
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: New York/Connecticut
Posts: 10
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Count Blah, I am not sure exactly to whom you are referring, but in my case, it's a matter of, if not personal safety, than personal comfort. The LGBT community faces a lot of discrimination. The last thing I want is for everybody and their grandmother to see lesbian romances if they try to google my name for some business reason. As a freelance musician, people have total veto power over whether to hire you or not. I teach small children. I don't want to lose potential students because someone looked me up online and realizes what I like in the bedroom doesn't fit their own personal moral code. Frankly, it's none of their business, and has nothing to do with how well I can teach their children.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- A Writer's Journey
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-13-2010, 06:19 PM
Aric Isom's Avatar
Aric Isom (Offline)
Always Online
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Sunny Southern California
Posts: 2,428
Thanks: 84
Thanks 59
Icon6

Frankly, it's none of their business, and has nothing to do with how well I can teach their children.
Agreed 100% - Although I am not in the LGBT community myself I am in a group that helps fight for their rights and acceptance. In order to see where I'm coming from check out http://www.FriendsAcrossTheLine.com
__________________
Aric Isom

"As Iron Sharpens Iron - So Does One Person Sharpen Another..." ~ Solomon
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06-14-2010, 06:13 PM
CountBlah (Offline)
Pencil pusher
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Neverland
Posts: 21
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Rae, I respect your position, in your situation, I would likely do the same. That said, I think it is one of the few good reasons to use a pen name.

To see my own name in print for the first time was a little scary, I admit that, but it's also exhilarating. As a general piece of advice, I would say: Be yourself, because it is ultimately the most rewarding way to live your life. Using a pen name makes me feel like I'm playing in a sandbox; it's not as real.

Once again, the world is made of shades of gray. I would not be surprised though if 90% of the people using pen names just do it because they think people won't like their work.

Some one once told me that no matter what you do, 10% of people will hate what you do, 10% of people will love it, it's the other 80% that you have to work for.

I guess my point is that you'll never really connect with any of these people if they do not know who you are.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06-15-2010, 05:33 AM
Karolina's Avatar
Karolina (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,591
Thanks: 63
Thanks 55
Default

For me it's not about shyness or fear, I just like privacy. What's wrong with that?

Btw, my user name is in part my real name.
__________________
If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun - Katharine Hepburn

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 06-15-2010, 10:56 AM
mastermx (Offline)
Let me introduce myself
New Author
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

I guess pennames are most helpful for controversial subjects (i.e. religion, sex, drugs, politics). I doubt most of us need them though unless your name is Mr IP freely
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 06-15-2010, 10:58 AM
Lin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Well, like I've said, there are a lot of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with pride, shame or being named Seymore Butts.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 06-15-2010, 10:58 AM
Karolina's Avatar
Karolina (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,591
Thanks: 63
Thanks 55
Default

How'd you guess my name?
__________________
If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun - Katharine Hepburn

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 06-15-2010, 11:00 AM
HoiLei's Avatar
HoiLei (Offline)
Draw, o coward!
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: "In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina..."
Posts: 4,797
Thanks: 183
Thanks 484
Default

Some people just love to have alternate identities. I know a couple people who would pick pen names just to feel cool. Not a bad reason.
__________________
"I just saved 100% on my car insurance by switching to walking!"
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 06-15-2010, 11:03 AM
ScribblerKing's Avatar
ScribblerKing (Offline)
Eloquent Troll
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Scribble Town USA
Posts: 346
Thanks: 42
Thanks 59
Default

I actually met a girl with the last name "La Plume" and thought "Wow how can you get a PN any better than that...she swore it was her real last name.
__________________
"I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." --Mark Twain
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Writing Craft > Publishing


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Character Names Abereth Tips & Advice 69 06-16-2010 05:38 AM
Spelling for Fantasy Names HoiLei Writing Help & Issues 18 09-05-2008 01:22 PM
Capitalization Oasis Writer Tips & Advice 3 08-14-2006 05:11 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:00 PM.

vBulletin, Copyright 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.