When to Use a Pen Name
edited: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
By Marina Martindale
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
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Another question I'm sometimes asked is whether or not I write under my real name, or a pen name. I actually write under both.
There are many reasons why some authors have chosen to write under pen names. These authors would include:
- Those who wish to keep their privacy.
- Those who write controversial or sensitive subject matter, such as erotica.
- Those who, by coincidence, happen to have a name that is the same name as another author.
- Those who have names that are confusing, hard to pronounce, or have an unusual spelling.
- Those who write in more than one genre, and wish to build a separate brand for each.
The latter is applicable to me.
I published my first novel back in 2006. It was written for juvenile readers, and it would become the first in a series of historical novels for young readers. My first publisher suggested I publish the book under my real name, so I did, and I spent the next few years successfully building my brand as a children's book author. Then came the next problem.
I've been wanting to write more adult material for sometime now, and to branch out into the romance genre. This means that while I'm not writing erotica, readers in this genre do expect some steamy, if not somewhat graphic, love scenes. This would present a real problem if, by chance, a youngster, or a parent, who was a fan of my juvenile novels, came along and bought my latest book, The Reunion, thinking it too was written for younger readers. (Trust me, The Reunion is definitely not for younger readers!) So I decided to create a pen name, Marina Martindale, which is simply a play on my middle name and my last name, and I'm having to create a whole new brand. It's fun, yet challenging at the same time, since "Marina" cannot ride on the coattails of my earlier books. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.
Ultimately, it's up to each author to decide whether or not to write under a pen name, and if you should opt to do so, I highly recommend coming up with one that's easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and memorable.