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The Use of Pen Names

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  #31  
Old 06-15-2010, 11:04 AM
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:16 AM
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What if you have an awkward last name, very Cajun, that hardly anyone can pronounce? I'm stuck on whether to use a pen name simply because it would be much easier if I am published.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:18 AM
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You could still use your first and middle name--it's still you but slightly askew!
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ScribblerKing View Post
You could still use your first and middle name--it's still you but slightly askew!
Yeah, I've never thought about that. I wanted to do a JK Rowling, but my last name isn't cool enough haha.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Aric Isom View Post
You can now call me...........Batman!!!





Winged freak terrorizes...wait 'till they get a load of me!
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ScribblerKing View Post
You could still use your first and middle name--it's still you but slightly askew!
Hmmm....askew
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  #37  
Old 06-16-2010, 04:41 AM
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Hey, askew you, too, pal
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Lin View Post
Hey, askew you, too, pal

Why...thank you...thankyouverymuch....
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  #39  
Old 06-16-2010, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by opy View Post
What if you have an awkward last name, very Cajun, that hardly anyone can pronounce? I'm stuck on whether to use a pen name simply because it would be much easier if I am published.
Well, if you intend to get paid for it they'll just need to know how to spell your name, so i can't see that as a biggie. Having a pen name would make it a little easier on the fans. Although there are millions of fans all over the world that can say "Akira Toriyama" just because they love Dragonball Z, whether they speak English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Arabic or whatever (Obviously Japanese, but that's aside from the point).
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  #40  
Old 06-16-2010, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Master ACE View Post
Well, if you intend to get paid for it they'll just need to know how to spell your name, so i can't see that as a biggie. Having a pen name would make it a little easier on the fans. Although there are millions of fans all over the world that can say "Akira Toriyama" just because they love Dragonball Z, whether they speak English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Arabic or whatever (Obviously Japanese, but that's aside from the point).
I can say it too! I was intending on letting them know how to spell my last name, but my name looks one thing, but said completely different. People in the office at school can't even say it, and I've told them a thousand times lol.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:40 PM
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Oh. That I think you'll pretty much get wherever you go. I'm sure an in-person meeting with somebody at least once can clear up most pronunciation problems. That's how my buddy Sari deals with stuff. Ngyuen is a common name and all, but there are still still a ton of people that insists on trying to add a vowel to that N. It just kills the dude.
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  #42  
Old 06-16-2010, 03:08 PM
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My last name is Isom. It is pronounced I-sum, but most people pronounce it Is-um. Drives me crazy...
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  #43  
Old 06-16-2010, 05:26 PM
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Mine's Gaudin. EVERYONE pronounces it Gawd-en. It's correctly said Go-dan. Drives me up a WALL! Everytime over the intercom at school. Becky GAWDIN!! I'm like *hits head against desk*
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  #44  
Old 06-16-2010, 09:36 PM
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The answer to chosing a pen name is marketing. Bookstores arrange their fiction shelfs alphabetically, usually left to right. Browsing customers very often start at the A's and work to the right. Check a few bookstores and see where your name would appear. Is it eye-height? Is it not too far down the aisle? What are chances a customer would browse far enough to find it before they bought something else? Where are well known authors?

When I was thinking about this subject, I found my name was normally three-quarters down the aisle, on a bottom shelf. For a customer to see a book on these shelves, they would have to kneel. I noticed Piers Anthony was at eye-height, in the first bank of books. So I chose a name that would put me above him in the alphabetic order.

Standard manuscript format has your identification and contact information in the upper left corner of the first page, and the author's byline under the title. The identification is for the publisher and your cheques, the byline is for the readers.
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  #45  
Old 06-16-2010, 09:59 PM
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That's really simplistic, Tony. Unless you're going to tell me Zelazny never sold a single book because he has a stupid name.

My local Borders (now sadly closed) had genres in cubbys, so when you walked in, front dead centre was F or G. My nearest indie has really tall shelves, so you have to look right up to see the A's.

If being at the front of the queue made the slightest bit of difference, you'd be outselling Piers Anthony and all the best-sellers would be written by people beginning with A.
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  #46  
Old 06-17-2010, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Aric Isom View Post
My last name is Isom. It is pronounced I-sum, but most people pronounce it Is-um. Drives me crazy...
I would have said Is-um. Glad to have been corrected.

As for picking a name because of how it fits on a shelf, different places have different shelf heights or placements. I wouldn't use that as a critiria for picking a name.
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  #47  
Old 06-17-2010, 02:22 PM
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The answer to choosing a pen name is marketing.
How the HELL would you know anything about that, you half-assed, cheapshot little moron?

You've never written anything even CLOSE to what might appear in a bookstore in your life and probably never will

But you have "THE ANSWER" as with your bullshit "how to write gooder" advice.

I'll say it again, as somebody who has used pen names a lot, for many different reasons: there are many reasons to use a pen name. And the choice of that name is personal, and can be a factor of the reason the name is used. (Could be the name of somebody you trust to cash a check, for instance)

The idea of you giving people writing and publishing advice is just insane. They'd be better off taking my advice on how to deal with labor pains.
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  #48  
Old 06-17-2010, 02:34 PM
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(Could be the name of somebody you trust to cash a check, for instance)
Not to get on your bad side, but the name on the cover does not have to be the name on the check.... just saying....don't hit me, please...
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  #49  
Old 06-17-2010, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Aric Isom View Post
Not to get on your bad side, but the name on the cover does not have to be the name on the check.... just saying....don't hit me, please...
True. But there are times when you don't necessarily want the name on a check to be your own either.
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  #50  
Old 06-17-2010, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
True. But there are times when you don't necessarily want the name on a check to be your own either.
You better watch it... Someone might call the IRS on you...
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  #51  
Old 06-17-2010, 04:43 PM
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but the name on the cover does not have to be the name on the check
Of course not, duh. I pretty much covered all this earlier on. But it IS a reason somebody might choose a certain name.

Like I say, I have quite a bit of experience at a lot of levels of this.
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  #52  
Old 06-19-2010, 08:08 AM
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Should I use a pen name?
I'm almost done with my novel, and it can be graphically violent at certain points.
However, it's intelligent and deep because of the violence (hard to explain), most of the time, but can be extremely random. It's about how envy can change, and evil CAN conquer society.
The problem is, I write in my spare time, and aspire to become a lawyer. I don't want my future bosses to look up my name and see it, because my last name is very unique.
I'd be fine with it, if I were any older. But the problem is... I'm extremely young. Writing a book about partial insanity doesn't come off well on a record, now does it? By young, I don't mean in my twenties. I'm only thirteen.
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  #53  
Old 06-19-2010, 02:35 PM
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I would have said Isom correctly and Gaudin almost correctly. (Go-din) But I do think after you built a fan base, people would learn to say it correctly, and even if they didn't, they'd still be able to recognize it.

I grew up with a family who's last name was VanAdrighem. No one EVER said it correctly. For a name like that, I'd think it may be a good idea to change it up a bit. VanAgram or something. Still partially the name, but not so hard to say.

I also grew up with a girl who's last name was Hooker. I'd probably use a pen name then, too, for pretty obvious reasons. Although, I don't think she would have. She used to get pretty mad when people had sympathy for her name.

Now for me, my name isn't weird or hard to pronounce. In fact I think it's a perfect name to publish under, but I reeeeeally like my privacy. I don't like the idea of becoming famous... at all. I want to pay my bills by writing, and I want to be a well known author so I can pay my bills most efficiently, but I do not want random strangers asking me if I'm THE (my name... you know... anonymity.) I don't want to be in tabloids or any of the other nonsense that people like Stephanie Meyers and JK Rowling have to deal with. I don't expect my book to be the next big thing, but neither did either of them. For that reason, I want to use a pen name.

Problem is, I can't think of a good one, either. They all suck. I like my own name, haha. My first name is Wendy, which is why I've always used Gwyndolin online (Wendy came from that name as a nickname). Or Gwendolyn. I thought about using that as a first name and my own last name. My husband says it's super duper dorky.

I don't know.... I just sigh and decide to decide later. I still have lots to do before I have to choose.
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  #54  
Old 06-21-2010, 08:59 PM
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Obviously my real name is not "Corvus". But it's the name that appears (so far as anything appears) on my recent launch of an online serial novel.

There are a great many reasons to do that. For one thing, I like the idea of this project--which is an uusual activity, at least for me--being a self-contained thing of it's own referent.

Also, I have a professional career, much of which is working with young people. I'm not sure that being identified with a novel that does so much of what these youths like to read, play and see, is a good idea.
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:03 AM
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On a slightly different but related topic:
I have no desire to use a pen name but I am unsure how I should phrase my name.
The novel I am almost finished is a light hearted victorian adventure. Very British and featuring lots of upper class and society people.
I have come up with the following variations, what do you good people think?

Tom Pugh
Thomas Pugh
Thomas H Pugh
TH Pugh
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:18 AM
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I'd go with Thomas...one-syllable names don't usually go that well together, the middle initial is a bit formal, and I'm not really a fan of solely initials as author names.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:49 AM
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Palahniuk isn't the easiest name to pronounce, and he seems to be doing fine for himself. I agree with Lin when he said there's many reason an author may choose to use a pen name. In my opinion, if you write well enough, people will learn your name.
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Old 07-01-2010, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TP_1983 View Post
On a slightly different but related topic:
I have no desire to use a pen name but I am unsure how I should phrase my name.
The novel I am almost finished is a light hearted victorian adventure. Very British and featuring lots of upper class and society people.
I have come up with the following variations, what do you good people think?

Tom Pugh
Thomas Pugh
Thomas H Pugh
TH Pugh

For something victorian, I'd go as proper as you can, personally.

I like the last two.
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:59 PM
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Pen names are interesting. I think all the above posters have covered basically what I would have said. Definitely tell your agent, and if you're really concerned, as your agent not to tell your publishers.

I've used a pen-name before, because I co-authored several short-stories with my roommate, and we felt that it would be easier to sell under a single author's name. So we devised a pseudonym for the two of us and submitted to the magazine. When the story was accepted, we told the editor our real names for payment purposes, and agreed to accept a single check under one of our names. Now, multi-author fiction is complicated...but actually less-so when you get into the longer stuff. XD

Good luck with creating a name! ~S
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by opy View Post
Mine's Gaudin. EVERYONE pronounces it Gawd-en. It's correctly said Go-dan. Drives me up a WALL! Everytime over the intercom at school. Becky GAWDIN!! I'm like *hits head against desk*
Lol I said GAWDin in my mind when I read that
well mine is Goodrich
Good-rich
it's just two very easy English words put together

so very boring.
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