Pen Names – Why Use One?

You’re afraid.

You’re afraid you’ll fail.

You’re afraid the book will be no good.

You’re afraid they’ll make fun of you, especially that mother-in-law that’s determined to show the world what a loser you are.

You’re afraid the internet trolls will track you down, tear the skin off your soul, and drive a stake through your heart.

Well they, whoever they are, don’t have to know you wrote a book. Just use a pen name.

A pen name is not like an actor changing her name. You don’t need a court order to write under a pen name. Have you every noticed how many actors have changed their name?

Many famous writers use pen names. Mark Twain comes to mind. In recent (before ebooks) times publishers only wanted authors to come out with one book a year and to release that book at a certain time. If the author wanted to or had another book to publish the author would publish the book under a pen name.

Pen names are good for people that have names that are hard to spell or pronounce. Or they have last names that start with Z or one of the other letters at the end of the alphabet. Authors with last names starting with Z end up on the bottom shelf of the book rack and are the last to get their book reviewed if the reviewer doesn’t get burned out by the time they get to the bottom of their reading stack and doesn’t review their book at all.

So stop worrying about what people will think of your book and write it under a pen name. If the book doesn’t  do well change your pen name and write another one. Decades from now a researcher will wonder who wrote the first book and no one will ever know.

The worst that can happen is that you become a famous author and have to make up some excuse for why you write under a pen name. And that is a problem every writer would love to have.

So choose your pen name carefully. Make it unique. Make it easy to spell and pronounce. Make it start with one of the first letters of the alphabet. Now go write that book.

Stay strong, write on.     Professor Hyram Voltage

Pen Name An author’s pseudonym.

Pseudonym A fictitious name used when the person performs a particular social role.

Nom de guerre A fictitious name used when the person performs a particular social role.

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. And a great place to use a nom de guerre.