Writing a book is an exciting process! However, it also involves a lot of decision making. One of the most important—and hopefully one of the most fun—choices an author makes when writing and publishing a work is whether or not to use a pen name. A pen name (also known as a “pseudonym” or “nom de plume”) is basically just a made-up, fictitious name. Authors all over the world publish their books under pen names, and there are a variety of reasons why.
There are several reasons why writers choose to disguise their identity when penning their literary works. Whether working with publishers, literary agents, or self-publishing platforms, writers must carefully consider their options before settling on a pen name that reflects who they are as artists and individuals.
Although each writer’s reason for using a pseudonym is unique, there are some common reasons. The first one is to write in different genres to reach different audiences. A writer who has an established audience in one genre may find it challenging to break into another genre without confusing their existing readership. Using a pen name allows them to experiment with different styles and subject matters without alienating their fan base.
Similarly, some authors use a pen name to protect their reputation. Authors who have faced criticism or controversy may choose to use a pen name to protect their reputation and existing author brand. This strategy allows them to distance themselves from any negative press or associations while continuing to write and publish under a new identity.
Finally, writers sometimes want to disguise their identity. Not everyone wants to be in the public eye, and publishing under a false identity can help keep their private life private.
Some authors may want to separate their personal life from their writing career or avoid any unwanted attention. If an author writes about sensitive or controversial topics, using their real name could put them at risk of backlash or even harm. By using a pseudonym, they can write freely without fear of repercussions.
In addition to protecting privacy and reaching more readers, there are several other benefits of using a pen name. For example, an author might choose to use a pseudonym to make themselves more marketable. If their given name is difficult to pronounce or not memorable, they might create a nom de plume that’s catchier and help them stand out from the crowd.
Pen names can also help an author get published. Sometimes it’s easier for writers to maintain their publishing rights if they separate their legal identity from the name they publish under. And in some cases, creating multiple personas can allow an author to write in different genres and reach different audiences.
Writers are creative, and sometimes they want to explore different genres. Creating multiple personas provides authors with the freedom to write about a variety of topics without confusing their fanbase.
For example, consider a science fiction author who has developed a following of loyal readers thanks to the different worlds they’ve created in their published works. If that author wants to try their hand at a nonfiction book, it might be difficult for them to be taken seriously because their previous books have invented so much fiction. Creating a pen name will allow that author to write nonfiction without confusing their audience or their readers being skeptical about their ability to write about something factual instead of fictitious.
So, how do authors pick their pen names? Their first step is looking at the different types of pseudonyms that they can choose from.
Throughout the writing and publishing processes, authors have many choices to make—including whether to publish under their given name. Before an author settles on their nom de plume, they should first learn about the different types of pen names.
There are four main types of pen names—and each has its own unique characteristics and benefits. Here’s a rundown of each type:
Now that you know all about pen names—and pseudonyms and noms de plume—you can decide whether you as an author want to create one for yourself!
There are many compelling reasons why authors use pen names when writing and publishing their works. And if you feel that creating a pseudonym will help you publish your book successfully, you can consider writing under a pen name too!
Whatever name you choose to publish under, Elite Authors is here to help you through the publishing process. From editing to book cover design to full book marketing services, we’re the one-stop shop for all things publishing. Visit our website to learn more!