Hello All, Welcome to another episode of Q & A with RNIC, a segment dedicated solely to answering reader questions. I’ll be responding to reader questions via video and listing a brief synopsis at the end for those of you who want a quick read.
This week’s question covered what many consider a basic precursor to publishing or writing: What exactly are pen names and why do authors use them?
1.) What are they?
A pen name, otherwise known as a pseudonym <—notice the slight joke here :)…Anyway a pen name is a name used/acquired/assumed by a writer instead of their real or legal name. Sometimes pen names are “known” or “open secrets”, in that the author is very public regarding both their legal and pen names. In other instances the true identity of the author is a closely guarded secret.
2.) Why do some authors use them?
Some authors use pen names to protect their anonymity, some do it to be gender neutral and others do it to differentiate their work between genres. The reasons are varied and totally up to the author.
3.) How do you decide on a good pen name?
Some authors decide to use family names, initials, favorite cites etc…I myself chose a variation of my legal name. Some people even use pen name generators like this one. My favorite pen name creation options can be found here, no generator required :).
4.) Additional Information
Some states allow you to register your pen name. So for those of you who are thinking of becoming writers and have a set pen name in mind you can always “call dibs” and lock that name down :).
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. Come back on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month to get her romance industry news…with a colorful twist.