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Why Do Authors Use Pen Names

Some authors write under their real names while others prefer to use a different name. In the second case, such a name will be the author's pen name and it is the name that will appear on the book. A pen name is a name used by an author in the place of their real name. There are many reasons why an author would choose to use a pen name. Using a pen name is similar to a musician who prefers to adopt a stage name that is different from their real name. For writers, however, one can completely remain private with only the pen name known to the public.

Many great writers have adopted pen names and their reasons vary. Below we are some of the main reasons for this decision.

Keeping Personal and Professional Lives Separate:  There are so many reasons why authors would choose to keep their ordinary life and author life separate. For some, it might be because their work reveals sensitive information about themselves or about others. In this case, the smart thing to do is use a pseudonym. For others, one simply does not want the world to know that they are the ones writing the books, for example in the case of erotic novels. Some want only their work to be known while keeping the spotlight away from themselves.

Keeping Genres Separate: In a case where an author has already established themselves in a particular genre, publishing work under a new genre might confuse the existing fans. In this case, instead of crossing genres under the same name, it is wise to create a new author identity with a different name. This might make the author miss out on a chance to promote the new book using their existing clout but, in the long run, it is more beneficial.

Fresh Start: If an author's earlier work was not well received, they can switch to a new name to give their work a better chance. This might be because of poor sales or controversy surrounding the earlier work. A new name gives you a fresh start with both publishers and readers.

Switching Publishers: An author who is already under contract with a particular publisher might want to work with new publishers. The best way to do this without getting into any legal trouble is by using a new name. However, always read the fine print in your contract carefully before doing this. Some contracts will prohibit you from using another publisher even with a new name.

Marketing and Branding: Many authors already have existing professional lives with some already quite established. Therefore, to establish yourself as an author, create a new name that you can build into a separate brand away from your already existing brand. A pen name also gives you the perfect opportunity to create an image that suits your chosen genre and speaks to your potential readers. It also allows you to use a name that still has a website domain and social media names available, allowing you to mold your brand right from the start.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Faridah Nassozi