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I'm wondering how possible anonymity is when using a pen name. I have no idea how that works with modern publishers. Your real name must be public information somewhere in that transaction. So is there any reasonable expectations of privacy if you want to remain anonymous? What do the Mark Twains and George Eliots of today do?

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Well, recent history indicates that taking to twitter to suggest that reporters to look into a pseudonym is not a good way to maintain it's integrity. –  wax eagle Jul 19 '13 at 2:57
I'm guessing mostly you need to cover your tracks really really well. For an unknown, that's rather easier than for a celebrity. –  Standback Jul 19 '13 at 15:31

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've located an article that might be of some help: http://www.dsattorney.com/qa-pseudonyms-in-contracts/

The author (Daniel N. Steven, a practicing attorney in Maryland and former publisher/editor) says that you can maintain privacy by using a PO Box and unlisted phone number with your pseudonym, but that a Social Security Number would still be needed for tax purposes. (His advice obviously assumes you are in the U.S.) If you didn't want to use your Social Security Number, you'd have to establish another legal entity, such as an LLC (a limited-liability company), as the copyright owner of the work.

(His website also has a link to other legal articles on publishing that may be of interest.)

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You should summarize the content from the linked article so that the readers only need to follow a link for further reading not to evaluate whether the content is useful. –  Paul A. Clayton Jul 23 '13 at 11:59
@PaulA.Clayton Thanks for the help :-) (I'm new and still learning the SE ropes). Additional info added to my answer. –  C. St. C. Jul 23 '13 at 15:34
Good edit! I can now upvote without reservation. (You probably want to avoid abbreviations like 'FWIW'. While such does not seem to be as unwelcome as text speech, it moves away from the professional tone sought by this site. Also 'SS#' might be clearer spelled out. 'LLC' is less problematic because it is given as a specific example of "another legal entity".) This is a quite decent first Stack Exchange post. –  Paul A. Clayton Jul 23 '13 at 15:47
@PaulA.Clayton Ah, I see. I've made a few tweaks. Thanks again! –  C. St. C. Jul 23 '13 at 17:26
Thank you, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for! –  grass_now Jul 23 '13 at 20:53

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