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19

Two reasons I know of: Personal - some people are exceptionally private, especially in this day and age, and would like to remain so in their personal lives. Professional - much like other artists, authors can be tied to a specific style of writing or genre. Existing fans can be upset if an author experiments in another genre, and new fans can't be picked ...


10

Unlike the other answers, let me try to give you a practical, nuts and bolt answer. When you go to self-publish your book, either as an ebook(Amazon, Kobo, etc) or print(Createspace etc), you are asked to give an author name. This field is not automatically filled based on your registered name. So you can fill in any name you want in the author field. This ...


8

Here's another way to think about it. Why should you use your real name? Use it if... you want anyone who Googles you to read you (or more likely, your reviews). Use it if... you want everyone in your social network to read your reviews, or you. Use it if... you want every prospective employer to read your reviews, or you... as part of standard screening ...


7

This is entirely a matter of choice. There are a number of famous authors who write in other genres using a pen name, and they have proven to be just as successful in their new genres. As long as you are writing under just one pen name, you shouldn't really encounter any problems. If, however, you choose to write under more than one pen name, then you might ...


6

Is your goal to actually hide your identity? Like you're advocating the violent overthrow of the government and you don't want the police to track you down? Or maybe more realistically, you're afraid your writing might interfere with business relationships, like you don't want co-workers to know that you're writing sex novels? Or is it that you think a ...


6

One famous author who has done this is Nora Roberts (romance) / J. D. Robb (mystery). I can see that a reader who appreciates a great thriller might not be interested in picking up a book that they associate (rightly or wrongly) with the author of a bodice-ripper. In the case or Roberts/Robb, it probably makes a lot of sense. This article on pen names ...


5

Sometimes pen names are used to fit with an imaginary "true story". A great example is The Princess Bride, in which the real author (William Goldman) pretends it's a "true story" written by someone of the era (S. Morgenstern). Still, that falls under Marketing I guess. Another reason is that an author may want to be shelved with other authors of their ...


4

It is true, to a degree, that it's difficult. The central "problem", if you can call it that, is that when you become published, and start building an audience, both your audience and your publisher begin to expect you to do things in a similar vein as what you've done before because it's easier to market work to an established audience. If your first novel ...


4

Zane hit the main ones: desire for personal privacy the other primary reason I know is marketing - same as actors, some authors will adopt snazzier-sounding names to sound good on the bookshelf. Beyond that, you've got a lot of exceptional cases - Joe Hill is a pen name to avoid the otherwise-painfully-blatant connection to his father; Alice Bradley Sheldon ...


4

I write under a pen name, and haven't had any problems. The contracts are signed with my legal name, 'writing as' my pen name. Royalty cheques are payable to and cashed by my legal name. I think there are some US states where you can/are supposed to register your pseudonym - I think that if you do that, you can actually sign contracts and bank under that ...


3

I am doing exactly that. I created my own publishing company, which to date has published exactly one book. (My first book was published before I created this company, and I'm working on my third now.) The main reason I did this was so I could create my own imprint, i.e. publisher name and logo. It is also helpful -- I'm not sure if it's absolutely necessary ...


3

I think that a company "that acts like a publishing house" but has no other corporate activity is a (small) publishing house. The one obvious benefit will be if you are successful promoting and selling your own books, then you could take on other authors using the same systems and become a larger publishing house. Since this question is almost exclusively ...


3

I have had something like this happen: someone I worked with many years ago, but whom I did not know well, published two books (or more) using my first and last name as a pen name. The problem? First of all, it was an embarrassing book on a psychological disorder, and at least twice in my career I was asked if I had it before I knew about the book. ...


3

In Massachusetts, the state bar association has a referral service: if you go through them to find a lawyer, the person you talk to will charge only $25 for a half-hour consultation. If your state has something similar and you want a definitive answer, I would encourage you to use it. That being said, here is my opinion as a non-lawyer: if your pen name is ...


3

Women writers used to do it because only men authors were taken seriously. Sometimes people don't want the fame from their writing they just want to do it for the art. The pen name allows them peace from the hype of their book. Sometimes people are afraid of critics and feel better if its not actually their name being bashed it makes it feel less personal.


3

One unusual reason I haven't seen touched on: Some people do it to access a side of them that they want to express, creating a kind of virtual "person" with different attributes. Some people call it their "muse" and other pet names. It's a way of allowing themselves to overcome some mental barrier by pretending to be someone else, with special "powers", ...


3

I worked with someone who used a screen name, and we were implementing a system that used the HR system to create accounts in computer systems. However, he made our life a living heck, since he was John Smith to everyone in the company, but his legal name was James Madison (names changed to protect the foolish). But he never legally changed his name. ...


3

While it is true that in the past it was hard to change genres, I believe that in the present it is much easier and more widely accepted. In the past, publishers had to figure out a game plan for how to promote their authors. It was a lot easier for them to do this if they could target a specific audience and go after them. They discouraged authors from ...


2

I think it depends a lot on what genres you write -- if you do both mainstream and historical fiction, or suspense/thriller and scifi, stick with one name. If you do erotica and YA fiction, you probably want two.


2

The biggest problem I've seen is that all the authors books aren't in the same spot in the store, so your more casual fans aren't going know that you have a book out unless they read from multiple genres themselves. Otherwise I don't think you'll have many issues. Hardcore fans will get the information from your website, and straddling genres will bring ...


2

I know I already gave an answer to a similar question (see link below), but I wanted to add something onto that. With self-publishing, you have the opportunity to drive your customers based on the genre you write. A lot of people I know are finding great success in writing across genres, and they are using social media to get their books out there to the ...


2

You can put anything you want as the name on the front cover and the name listed as the author of the work. However, as the publisher of the work, it's recommended that you use your real name, as this will allow you to establish that you are in fact the owner of the rights to publish and use that work. Another option is to establish yourself as doing ...


2

If you are finding your pen name inconvenient for the reasons you mention (ethnicity, etc.) then perhaps the best option would be not to point people to your name. You say that your items are on your writing blog and "scattered about" — so, save your readers the trouble of hunting. If you don't already have one, put together a page or sidebar on your blog ...


2

1) Do book signings outside your home town. How well-known are you?! 2) Unless your pseudonym is the opposite sex from you, just sign with your pseudonym. I'm sure Mark Twain didn't sign books as "Samuel Clemens." 3) You REALLY need to put in the work to figure out how to make digital editions. You will find that it's worth the effort.


1

I only can give you a German perspective, but I could imagine that you face the same issues in other countries (like the US). You can use a pen name as author, that is no problem at all. But as publisher it as a different matter. Besides copyright and royalty payments (which shouldn't be a problem), there is the right of the readers to be considered. ...


1

There are different options you can consider, but only you can decide which one you are most comfortable with. The first would be to include your screen name in the description of the book(s). For example, you could include a statement that some of the content was originally published on your blog or other sites using the screen name of Yamikuronue. Another ...


1

To answer your specific question about Seanan/Mira, see http://seananmcguire.com/writefaq.php#mira. In her case, she's using different names for urban fantasy vs science fiction. There's also the classic midlist death spiral--author doesn't sell enough, publisher drops them, author changes name so they can sell new books.


1

Of the Brontë sisters' motivation to use pseudonyms Wikipedia has to say: In 1846, the sisters' poems were published in one volume as Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. The Brontë sisters had adopted pseudonyms for publication: Charlotte was Currer Bell, Emily was Ellis Bell and Anne was Acton Bell. Charlotte wrote in the "Biographical ...


1

The main genre line that doesn't cross well under one line is romance/erotica and anything else. Anything involving sex or romance novels tends to be seen as a blemish on the record of an otherwise well-regarded author - hence, authors like Nora Roberts and Anne Rice write erotica/romance under a different name than other genres. Historically, women writing ...



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