TOP 10 REASONS TO USE OR NOT TO USE A PEN NAME By Elysa Hendricks

Welcome Elysa to my blog. I hope you have lots of fun today and get lots of comments on this interesting topic. Everyone who reads the blog today gets a copy of her ebook.

As an author I’ve always written under my “real” name, but I know many authors prefer to use a pseudonym. So I got to wondering which way is better and came up with my Top 10 Reasons for both.

Top 10 reasons to write under your own name

10. You’ll be able to find your books in the bookstore.
9. You don’t need a separate checking account.
8. You don’t have to change your diver’s license.
7. You’re kids will remember who you are.
6. Old friends can find you.
5. You can cash your royalty checks without a problem.
4. Your parents, kids and significant other get bragging rights.
3. You know how to spell it and pronounce it.
2. You’ll answer when someone calls your name.
1. You won’t forget who you are.

Top 10 reasons to write under a pen name

10. You can pick the exotic name you wanted as a child rather than the boring one your mom and dad gave you.
9. You can pick a name close to a big name author so your books are next to hers on the bookstore shelves.
8. Your friends don’t have to feel bad if you get a bad review – no one knows who you are.
7. If your books bomb you can always change your name and try again.
6. Old “friends” can’t find you.
5. When you get famous you can go out in public without being mobbed – no one knows who you are.
4. Your children don’t get teased about their mom’s “dirty” books.
3. You don’t get funny looks from the minister when you attend church.
2. Your mom doesn’t have to explain her daughter’s weirdness to the minister.
1. The local stalker can’t find you.

So as an author, which way do you lean, real name or pen name? And as a reader does it matter to you which name an author uses?

As a Thank You to everyone who visits Cindy’s blog today to read my blog I’d like to offer a FREE download of my ebook COUNTERFEIT LOVE, small town contemporary romance. Simply go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/83527 and at checkout use Coupon Code MM24E.

STAR CRASH
EXCERPT

At the gate, a guard stepped in Cora’s path and whistled an incomprehensible command.

“What?” she asked.

Cora was no alien expert. A pilot and a mechanic, she knew engines and machines not people–and on this planet the Flock were the reigning “people.” Her translator chip still couldn’t decipher the Flock language. The chirps, cackles, whirs, whistles and trills they used as speech sounded like birdsong, but unlike birdsong she didn’t find anything pleasing about it. Her one required course on alien contact at the Academy wouldn’t do her any good if she couldn’t understand or speak their language.

The Flock whistled again. She tried to move around him. He smacked her arm with his rod then shoved her ahead of him.

“Go where?” she called out to the women.

One woman ran along the inside of the compound fence. “Make young.” The answer left a lot to be desired.

“What happen?” Cora asked.

The woman smiled. “Go. Much fun. Good. You like.”

“Yeah, sure,” Cora muttered. Whatever the Flock had in mind for her, she wasn’t interested.

She took the opportunity to look around as the guard herded her deeper into the compound, past the pen she’d occupied since her arrival. They moved down a wide path between a series of pens to where she hadn’t yet been. Farther ahead lay some buildings.

It appeared the compound covered several acres, consisting of many pens separated by wooden barriers. The inhabitants of each pen were segregated by age and gender. Her pen held ten women, all in their twenties like her. One pen held girls ranging in age from about five to fifteen. A larger pen held about fifteen women, all with babies and toddlers. In still another pen, fresh wood chips covered the ground, there were tent-covered low benches with soft cushions, and a fountain provided fresh water and cooled the hot, dry air. Six women in varying stages of pregnancy occupied this pen. Cora couldn’t help but gape at the women’s bulging bellies and swollen breasts. Sweet stars, she was trapped on a breeding farm for humans.

The women paid little attention to her or her guard as they moved through this human chicken coop. She noticed there weren’t any pens with grown men. If the women were hens, where was the rooster?

The next pen answered her question. Naked except for protective cups over their genitals, ten boys ranging in age from four to ten practiced fighting with wooden swords. Her attention shifted from the boys to the adult male who directed their training. Though his back was to her, he appeared as naked as the boys. Forgetting the guard, she paused to watch.

Bronze skin shiny with sweat rippled over powerful muscles as the man instructed the boys in swordplay. With his dark hair and straddle-legged stance, the youngest boy looked like a miniature version of the man. Cora smiled at his clumsy attempts to imitate his elder’s fluid movements.

The boy watched the man intently, but his small body, round with baby fat, refused to cooperate. He tripped and sprawled in the dust. His wooden sword slipped from his grip. The other boys’ laughter stopped abruptly at the man’s sharp command. The man knelt next to the boy, said a few quiet words then handed him back the wooden sword. The boy rubbed the tears from his cheeks with grubby fists, leaving streaks of dirt. The man’s compassion for the boy touched Cora, made these people seem less like animals. More human.

At one time she’d dreamed of someday having a child like this–Alex’s child. That dream had died with him. Losing Alex had killed that need inside her. Now she lived to explore. Relationships, love and caring for others were no longer part of her life.

Still, her gaze moved back to the man and traveled from the top of his head, covered with sleek shoulder-length ebony hair, down his broad shoulders to his narrow waist and taut bare buttocks. Her breath caught at the beauty of his form. His unashamed masculinity woke her buried femininity. Her nipples tightened in response. At some primal level her body recognized this man. No one since Alex had stirred her like this. “Turn around,” she whispered. “I want to see your face.”

Instead, he stepped back from the boys then lunged forward. Sunlight flashed off the blade of his sword as he whirled. Briefly, before the beauty of his motion recaptured her attention, she wondered why he didn’t use his own real sword to strike down his captors and seize his freedom. Dark hair obscured his features as his face whipped past. Why did he seem so familiar? She had to see his face. She started forward.

Pain radiated down her arm. Instinctively she turned to confront her attacker–the guard–and ducked the next blow. Acting on rage and adrenaline, she snatched the rod from his hand and cracked it across his neck. Without a sound, he went down and lay motionless.

32 thoughts on “TOP 10 REASONS TO USE OR NOT TO USE A PEN NAME By Elysa Hendricks

  1. Great article, Elysa. I’m a pen-namer because I was a counselor in the public school system (high school) when my first sexually explicit paranormal romance was published. Although I was sure they’d read much worse, I didn’t want the smut to be mine :-)

  2. The only thing I wished I had done differently about my pseudonym is used my real first name. I get confused at official writer gatherings when people called me Elizabeth. It’s getting better, haha!

    BTW my royalty checks are made out to my legal name. Not a problem. :-)

    • I’m with you, Elizabeth! I use my real first name and a made-up last name. And like Dariel, I work in high schools, only I sub. After what happened to that author last year, who has been teaching for 25 years, so at least her union backed her, I can’t take that kind of chance! Subs are “at-will” employees, meaning they won’t even tell me why they stop calling me! And I need the money!

  3. LOL…Funny post, Elysa!

    I use a pen name, but it’s not for secrecy, so all my “friends” and family know who I am! I like my pen name more than my real name though!

    I never thought about chosing a name to be close to a big name author–darn it! ;)

    Great post and excerpt! :)

    ~Jane~

  4. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented. Be sure to go and download a copy of COUNTERFEIT LOVE.

    Sometimes I wish I’d started out with a pen name, but back then (the Dark Ages) people didn’t worry too much about the public knowing who we were. :-)

  5. I’ve thought about using a Pen Name because my last name is sort of unwieldy, especially if writing for a Western-based audience. I decided against it though, because I wanted to be known for me. I find a lot more genuine.

  6. Very interesting article I have often wondered why the use of a penname for some authors but not others,and if you do choose one how go about to pick one. Thanks much for sharing the post

    Desere

    • Picking a pen name can be fun. Grab an old phone book and rip out a random page. Tape that page up on the wall and throw darts at it and whatever names they land on you can use for you pen name. :-)

  7. Great post, Elysa. Love your lists. I don’t have a problem with others using different names. I can find Jayne Ann Krentz’s latest book no matter which name she uses. I write under my own name because I’m proud of my work–and I haven’t been a teacher in years.

  8. Elysa, great excerpt. I already havee Counterfeit Love.

    I use a pen name. My husband is a cop and requested it for safety reasons. I use it so much that I answer to it just as easily as my real name. LOL

    • Mostly I have trouble remembering my own name. The only name I answer to with any consistency is Mom. Some random kid in the grocery store yells Mom and my head whips around. :-)

      Of course, most people tend to mispronounce my name, so I’m not sure who they’re referring to when they yell it out. :-)

  9. Got a chuckle out of this blog. A great topic! I use a pen name because years ago I wrote youth sports articles for kids. I definitely do not want those kids looking up their articles (some of those articles were published in a national sports magazine and some are still on the web) and find my erotic romances next to their youth articles.

    My husband and I also worked for companies, his is publicly traded and mine was private, that could be sensitive about my genre of writing. We also had kids in middle school when my works were being published–again, potential issues there.

    In all, the respectful way to deal with the uncertain was to use a pen name. There are good reasons to use a pen name that solve problems and help avoid unnecessary conflicts. As recently as last year a school teacher was “exposed” by nosy parents for her works of erotic fiction that she wrote under a pen name. The end result is she got to keep her job, anyway.

    So, even when authors set added boundaries to protect themselves and others, there are people who still want to create drama.

    And it is challenging to promote yourself under a pen name, but sometimes it’s what works, depending on one’s situation, job, circumstance, profession and level of privacy that they are comfortable with.

    Otherwise, in my personal life I’m transparent about who I am and what genre I write in, and the pen name I write under. My publisher sends checks in my regular name, I’m also Indie published so, again, I get royalty checks in my name. No biggie there with bank accounts :)

  10. Love your to or not to lists!
    One thing I heard an author say about not using your own name was that if you changed publishers or wanted to published under another house, your old publisher would “own” your name which could be a problem.
    Thanks for the great excerpt!
    ivegotmail8889@yahoo.com

  11. Love this post. I’ve written under both my real name and pen names and have definitely come to prefer the pen name. Among other benefits, with the pen name, I could pick something that was easier to spell and looked good on a book cover.

  12. Great interview and topic! Unfortunately, I’ve had to change my author name because of the stalker bit… But, it lets me expand the type of writing without having my mom try to explain what I do to her friends ;)

    • Mandi,
      Sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with a stalker. That’s scary stuff! The Internet and technology is wonderful in so many ways, but it’s sad that one of the downsides is that privacy has almost become a thing of the past.

  13. When I was young, I always used a pen name, but none of the stories were ever published. The pen name was Zan K. Cepadico. God know where I came up with that inspiration!

    When I actually wrote something as an adult that was worth publishing, I discovered a sense of vanity that just wanted to get all the credit for doing the work!

  14. Great topic and fun post! Thanks. I’m currently in the process of creating my pen name. I want to start writing racy stories and I’ll keep my own name for the more traditional ones.

  15. I love this post, Elysa! I have used a pen name before because some of my relatives google me at random and report on their findings and it would be very awkward if they found some of my writing! That said, I have extreme mixed feelings about not being able to claim all of my writing as my own, so I’m not sure if I will just bite the bullet in the future regardless of what I write. :) Thanks for the ebook!

  16. There are lots of business reasons to use a pen name. Remember that when Steve Jobs started his company, he didn’t name it “Steve” or even “Steve Jobs.” He chose a company name. That’s essentially what a pen name is — the name of the author’s brand, his/her company. If your name is “Sally Big Bestseller,” I say go with it! But if it’s “Sally Last Name Unpronounceable and/or not easily spelled or easily confused with others or at the very end of the alphabet” then, um, not so much. Maybe try “Stevie Jobs.” :-)

  17. When I started writing I didn’t have a clue about pen names or much of anything else. I just jumped in and started writing. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. :-) I don’t know if I had it to do over again if I’d start with a pen name or not, but the nice thing about writing is you can always re-invent yourself and start using one anytime you like. :-)

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