Please excuse any mess around here while blog is undergoing damage repair.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's In A Name?

A lot, I suppose! Everyone knows Converse, right? Writers struggle with this every day. Do they go by their given name, or do they invent a pen name? For each of us, different factors play into that decision. Maybe we are writing something that we don't want our families to know we wrote, perhaps a memoir or erotic romance. Or, maybe, we are writing in a different genre than we usually do. Or, in my case, our given name is so boring that we are afraid no one will buy our books. Seriously, how lame is "Susan Mills"? See what I mean? Okay, I'm still not changing my name, but I'm thinking about it... Whatever the reason, pen names are an issue that every author needs to think about. I recently received an email from Enna Scott. I have no idea the true identity of this person, but she (or could be he) asked fellow bloggers to spread the word about a new blog, under a new name. Go visit Enna Scott and support a fellow author in his/her decision to use a pen name. Maybe you can help me figure out who it is while you're there. Anyway, these are my Thursday Thoughts. What do you think about pen names? Have you considered using one? Or are you so excited to see your name on the spine of a book that you wouldn't even think of it?

19 comments:

Diane said...

I think for the reasons you've mentioned, it would be useful to use a pen name, otherwise, I'll stick with mine. :O)

Melanie's Randomness said...

Ohh I remember your post last year where you realized there was another author by your name. I'm a lil iffy on the pen name thing because unless your really famous like Anne Rice who can get away with having 3 pen names it's gunna be hard to attach yourself to each of them. People might just think its a new author. I told my boyfriend that if my story ever gets published I'm using my name now. Even if him & I get married I will be writing under my maiden name. =) It would excite me too much to see it! =)

Stephanie Faris said...

I like Susan Mills. I've found simple usually works best. Is Stephenie Meyer really that unique a name (aside from the odd spelling of the first name). Stephanie Faris is ordinary. My married name is Stephanie Berry and I've thought about going by that, but there are a lot of Berrys out there in the writing world.

Roni Loren said...

I'm using a pen name now since I write erotic romance. However, my recommendation to you would be to decide now. And if you do go with a pen name, make the full switch now.

I'm regretting not changing mine earlier. My agent suggested I pick it before we went on submission to editors. That meant that all at once I had to change every single thing to the new last name: blog, website, twitter, facebook, goodreads, google profile, etc etc.

And the bad thing about that is, I've spent a year and a half building my web presence. I was the entire first page when you googled me. Now I have to start over in that respect. Plus, all the times people linked to me in their blog posts, the name now doesn't match.

So that's a long way to say--if you think you're going to change it--the sooner the better. IMO. :)

Carolyn V. said...

I started out using a pen name and even got a few short stories published under it. Then I realized people didn't know who I was when I went to conferences, so I changed it to my real name. Unfortunately, there is another Carolyn V out there, so I may have to mix my name up a little bit.

Patti said...

I was at a conference and sat by a lady whose name was long and hard to spell. She thought about using a pen name because she thought no one would be able to find her on google.

Bethany Mattingly said...

I have seriously considered it, but if I do, I would like to use parts of my existing name. Then, if/when my real name comes out, it's very similar to what my pen name is.

Jen Chandler said...

I love the idea of pen names. I write in two very different genres and I will be using a pen name. I'm not sure which genre will be under said pen name. It will depend on which I'm published in first.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Hi there! I've kind of been a lurker for a while now... I think pen names are kind of fun! My name is sort of long, but I think I would still use it. Or, just my first and middle initials and last name. Who knows. Oh wait! I don't really have to think about it until I get published! ;) I do like the idea of pen names though. Especially if you write different genres.

Dara said...

I've thought about a pen name but only because my last name is so stinkin' long (8 letters). That may give me a hand cramp if I'm ever signing books.

However, I don't know that I'd want to use a pen name. I like my real name (although sometimes I long for my maiden name which was only FOUR letters :P) and it's unique enough that I'm currently the *only* one with a fairly decent web presence already. So I'll just exercise my hand and I'll be good to use the real one :)

The Book Nut said...

My full given name is Andy Schafer, no middle name or initial and it really is Andy no Andrew. I still think I'd use my real name. Like you said, if I'm writing seedy sex novels then I probably wouldn't, but if I get famous (big laugh) what kind of legacy would I be leaving for posterity if I did it under a different name?

On the other hand........Jim Smith has a nice ring.......doesn't it?

Sarah Simas said...

I'm so wishy-washy when it comes to this topic. Had I known what I know now, I would have started everything under a pen name. It'd be nice to keep things separate. LOL Nothing like my mom posting one of her rants on my FB page where all my blog/author peeps can see. I mean really, do those folks wanna know my dad wasn't talking to her because he set his Costco hot dog on the roof of their convertible so he could put the loot in the trunk and she accidentally folded it up when she dropped the top? LOL Probably not. ;)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

My name is long, but I love it, so I'm going to stick with it! :-)

Lynda Young said...

I'm thinking of changing my name also. I think Susan Mills is a great name. It's easy to remember. I was thinking of waiting to see what my agent or publisher say about it but Roni made a good point in the comments. I have 2 other authors using my name. Sighhhh.

Dominique said...

I think about it every now and then. After all, my blog's associated with a name that isn't on my birth certificate. Would I want my book to be the same way? Honestly, I'm not sure.

Melissa said...

Ive thought about it but have no real desire to change my name for a book. I'm proud of what I'm working on and anyone I know or will meet - i dont care if they hate it because in the end it's for me. I understand why some people do and maybe its simply my own pride and vanity... but I just couldnt

nick said...

"Susan Mills" is a good author name. Let me put it this way...

"Susan Mills' new novel tops this week's NYT best seller list!" Sounds good, doesn't it?

jenheadjen said...

Oh interesting! I never thought about it, but what a thoughtful question!

Name: Holly Bowne said...

The very first novel I wrote was actually co-written with my mother. We created a pen name which combined both our names. If we ever find a publisher for it, that's what we'd like to use.

For the novel I'm working on now, I'm intending to use my own name, but if my future publisher has different ideas, hey, I can be flexible! ;o)