According to Wikipedia, “A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. The author’s real name may be known to only the publisher, or may come to be common knowledge.”
I have several questions for any authors reading this blog post about the subject.
- Why do authors use pen names? I am talking about completely different names – not just using your maiden name versus your married name.
- How do you come up with your pen name?
- When you have a completely different name for privacy reasons, do you tell any of your writer friends?
- Do your writer friends that know your real name call you by your real name or pen name at conferences and in emails, etc?
- Do you suffer from a personality complex when you have more than one pen name depending on the genres you write?
- Is it hard to keep up the persona of a different name when you introduce yourself to people?
- If you do it for privacy reasons, how do you let your friends, acquaintances and neighbors that know your real name know about a book being published?
I will admit that one of the reasons I like to read the acknowledgements in a book is to see if the authors refers to other authors with their real names versus their pen names. I also look at the copyright on a book to see if an author is using a pen name or real name. Why do I care? Because it is like putting a puzzle together. I am curious and I like to work on my detective skills in case any of those government agencies with three letter acronyms need my help uncovering a mystery or conspiracy. My husband says I am just nosy. Maybe I am, but isn’t that what makes a good detective or spy? 🙂
I don’t really mind if authors use pen names, so once I find out that an author is using a pen name there aren’t any fireworks or “Aha” moments. Usually finding out an author uses a pen name leads me to wonder if I should address them with their real name or pen name. But then, my gut tells me to keep using their pen name. If they wanted me to address them with their real name, they would tell me, right?
So, any authors out there willing to chime in and answer any or all of my questions?