First off, before I start this post . . .
(May you eat lots of candy and get very fat.)
Today, I’m going to talk about pseudonyms, and real names.
Examples of authors who work under pseudonyms include Lewis Caroll (WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED??), J.K Rowling (from the research I’ve done, the “K” doesn’t stand for anything; she also works under pseudonyms such as Robert Galbraith), Claudia Gray (author of the Evernight series and others); an example of an author who writer under their real name is Stephen King (though he has published novels under pseudonyms.)
Authors write under pseudonyms for many reasons.
- The first thing that pops into my head when I consider why a writer would use a pseudonym would be for security reasons, and privacy. (Especially if you might be writing about a sensitive/controversial topic that may offend people.) Yet the reality of this is a little bit tenuous — this is the twenty-first century, and we literally have information at our fingertips. If a person really wanted to find you, I think they would regardless of writing under a pen name.
- Writing in different genres is also a big one. Often authors will choose different pseudonyms for different genres — eg. Michelle Rowan wrote her high fantasy series under the name Morgan Rhodes, whereas some of her paranormal novels are written under Michelle Rowan. I understand this completely!
- Starting again. Think J.K Rowling writing under the name Robert Galbraith (and, quite frankly, that didn’t work out very well, considering people eventually found out that she was J.K Rowling.)
- Some writers might choose to write under a pseudonym because their name is either a) very very common (which would confuse readers) or b) the opposite, and their name is very long or confusing and hard to pronounce.
Say, by some miracle, I managed to become a published author, what would I do?
I would, most definitely, use my real name. I do not have anything against pseudonyms — not at all! But hey, I like my last name. And whilst the issue of privacy is something that’s popped into my head, I still don’t believe it would stop people from finding you if they really want to (this is the opposite, but think of Kathleen Hale, and how she still managed to find a reviewer who used an online pseudonym.)