Should You Use a Pseudonym or Pen Name? Common Questions that New Authors Ask

Should You Use a Pseudonym or Pen Name? Common Questions that New Authors Ask

Should you write using a pen name pseudonym or stick with your real name?


Pseudonym or pen name, yes or no, that’s the question! And it’s the next question in the common questions that authors ask blog series.

Right now, pen names or pseudonyms seem to be all the rage with self-published authors on Amazon and other platforms, but is the right move for you?

Previously we looked at Does Every Writer Need An Agent? And Is Facebook the Same as an Author Website?

In this article, we’ll look at the following:

  1. What is a pseudonym (pen name)?
  2. The top reasons authors use a pseudonym.
  3. Reasons you might consider not using a pseudonym.


What is a Pseudonym (Pen Name)?

Should You Use a Pseudonym or Pen Name? For hundreds of years, writers or authors have been writing using a pseudonym to protect their identities. Some of the most famous authors in the world write under pen names, including Mark Twain, Lewis Carol, and even Dr. Seuss, although not all for the same reason.

A pseudonym, alias, pen name, or nom de plume is a fictitious name that an author or writer uses instead of their real name. For the most part, readers will never know the true identity of the writer or author unless they choose to reveal themselves.


The Top Reasons Authors and Writers Use a Pseudonym

For most people, using a pen name or pseudonym makes no sense. After all, don’t you want all the glory and recognition of being a published author?

Let’s check out why some authors and writers use a pseudonym or pen name and why it could be a good or bad idea for you!

  1. To Protect their Identity – If you’re writing content that could embarrass your family or put you or them in danger, then a pseudonym is a great way to remain anonymous.
  2. To Overcome Gender Discrimination or Prejudice – Some time ago, women authors often wrote under male names to ensure that their work would receive the same consideration as their male counterparts.
  3. To Escape Racial or Cultural Discrimination – Not all countries or places share the same freedom as many of us are used to. As a result, many authors write under pen names to overcome racial and cultural discrimination.
  4. To Start Over with a Clean Slate – If you wrote previous books you didn’t like or weren’t that well received, starting with a new pen name or pseudonym will allow you to start with a 100% clean slate.
  5. To Try New Genres – If you write predominantly young children’s books but want to experiment with romance or horror, writing under a pen name or pseudonym would be a great way to separate the genres and audiences.

Some of the simpler reasons why an author may choose an alias include:

Your Name is Hard to Say – Some authors don’t like their name or how it’s spelled, and a pen name or pseudonym makes it easier for potential readers to connect with them.

You Don’t Like Your Name – Some authors just hate their names and want to try out something new!


Reasons You Might Consider Not Using A Pseudonym

You Already Have An Audience – If you already have an established audience that enjoys your books, then starting again under a pen name or pseudonym might be a lot of work that you don’t want to mess around with.

You Want to Avoid Extra Work – When you write under a pen name or pseudonym, there are a few extra steps that come along with establishing your identity and setting up financial payments and accounts on platforms.

Consider Social Events – When you attend any author or writing events, you’ll need to maintain your pen name or pseudonym, which can be a lot of work!

You’re Undecided – If you’ve been thinking of using a pseudonym or pen name, but keep changing your mind, think about it more. Unless it’s to protect your identity, a pen name can be a lot of extra work.


Pseudonym or Pen Name As An Author – Conclusion

There you go! Everything you wanted to know about pen names, including why you should or shouldn’t use one. It’s important to remember in this day and age with the internet, hiding your identity is a lot more complicated than it used to be. Ultimately, many authors who do choose to write under an alias have their real-life identities revealed anyway, especially if they get really popular.

If you have any questions about the self-publishing process, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Did you choose to write with an alias as an author, or did you use your real name? I’d love to know if and why, so drop a comment below!

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