To Pen Name or Not to Pen Name

To Pen Name or Not to Pen Name

Hi everyone!

I’m back for good from my blogging break. And I can’t think of any other way say to welcome back than this:

As for my first post back, today’s post is a “To or Not to’ where I pose a question for readers and writers alike to answer. So far, we’ve spoken our thoughts and feelings about prologues. Also the love triangle trope and romance subplot in novels.

So let’s discuss about pen names. J.K. Rowling has done it. Stephen King has done it. Even I’m thinking about doing it. About getting a pen name. But what name should it be, I have no inkling. Yet it’s a known fact that many authors write both under their real name and a pseudonym. Why? For various reasons.

My reason is that I have children. And I’ve been wondering if they’ll become embarrassed in front of other kids that their mom write romance. And the romance I’m writing is not clean. Another and even more important reason is to differentiate between the genre I’m writing. So if a reader much prefers reading fantasy they can search under my real name to find the fantasies I’ve written. But if they prefer romance they can search under the pseudonym.

What about other authors? Why do they write under a pen name? J.K. Rowling in facts write under two. The author of the famous Harry Potter books is Joanne Rowling. But Ms. Rowling dropped her name and used her initials. If I remembered correctly, her agency/publisher advised her books will sell better. That her fantasy series will gain more interest/sales with the male audience if her name didn’t scream female. She created her second pen name, Robert Galbraith, so that she might try her hand at writing a new genre. So she can write free and clear of her J.K. Rowling reputation. (Didn’t last too long. Once someone discovered she was Robert Galbraith, the sales of ‘his’ crime books shot up).

Stephen King started writing under the pen name Richard Bachman to publish more of his books. But without his Stephen King branding. In other words he didn’t want to limit the amount of his publications. And at the same time not flood the book market with ‘his’ books.

The author who inspired me to think about writing under a pen name was Jessica Clare. Ms. Clare writes under extra names. As Jessica Clare she writes erotic contemporary romance. But she also writes sexy and comedic fantasies and fairy tales under Jill Myles. And sexy, shifter paranormal romances under Jessica Sims.

On that note, what would my pen name be? Recently thought of using using my initials and came up with the name Lana Wilson.

Now to pen name or not to pen name? Why should you or shouldn’t you? Have a favorite author who writes under a pen name? Do you read those works? Do you write under a pen name? Why?

PS Read what author and journalist Anna Maxted says about pen names:

JK Rowling is right –  a pen name is a writer’s best friend

PSS Used a pen name generator and it came up with some names for me. Which one do you like? Find hilarious?:

General Names

Shaun Oscar 165
L. S. Wilkinson
Lidy S. Wiley
Licinio Willoughby
Oscar Shauns
Lilliana Wilkins
Linwood S. 165
Lizzy Lidson

Hard-Hitting Crime Pen Names

L. S. Sharp-Sai
Wilks Lidblood
L. S. Sai-Blackwilks
Liam S. Assassin

Pen Names For Romance Novels

Lindsay Shaunsky
Oscar Shanley
Libby-Anne Quietflower
Liliana Wilkslove

Pen Names For Fantasy Novels

L. Sherrod Wilksington
L. S. Lawrences
Lambert Aston Wilks
L. S. W. Lidshaunwilks

Pen Names for Science Fiction

Lou Wilksbot
L. S. Wizz
Liquy S. Wilks
Liesbeth Venus Wilksatron

Even More Pen Names

Dr Letitia Wilksson
King Lucy Wilk
Lida Shaunie Wilkser
Oscar McShaun
Lisa Sharlay Quietkins
Sheridan S. Assassin-165
Shaun O’Shannon
Oscar Lidie Wiles
Sherwood Wilksers
-Pen names are masks that allow us to unmask ourselves.- - Terri Guillemets


    • Thanks. Too bad I haven’t given a thought to writing hard crime novels. Though I do have three mystery/thriller story ideas saved away. Do those count?


  1. I know some people who write under a pen name because their early books didn’t sell well and they needed a fresh start. Worked well for them because they were able to get out from under a blah reputation and burst on the scene with something “brand-new.”

    I never knew there was such a thing as a pseudonym generator! I like a lot of the ones it came up with for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good idea. It’s like the opposite of why JK Rowling started writing under a pen name. To get away and start clean from her good author reputation and branding.
      The generator was lots of fun, you have to give it a try.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post!
    I’m also interested in using a pen name.
    In fact, I’m using one now.
    As for me my reason is privacy and to separate my personal life.
    The quote you shared above is very true for me.
    By the way, I like Liam S. Assassin
    Maybe I should make my pen name a guy too when I get publish.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have considered a pen name as well, but seeing as I have kind of already branded myself as Olivia’s Catastrophe and the name Olivia-Savannah attached to it, I guess I’m gonna stick to it now xD But I think it’s interesting the reasons one chooses to go with a pen name. Stephen King’s reasoning is so noble and fair too. Anyway, it’s a very intriguing topic for debate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve known that authors sometimes write under a pen name. But not once did I try to understand why. Definitely can see the plus side of writing under a different name. With the privacy and anonymity that comes with writing under a pseudonym can be freeing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I pen name. One was for a reason you mention, I have kids and I write romance. Open door romance. Another reason is I wanted a name that would hopefully be easy to say, spell, and remember. I love The Husband, but his last name isn’t the easiest thing. I didn’t want people unable to find me because they couldn’t remember my name and its spelling.

    Now I never considered more than one name. I have a hard enough time managing 2 names (real and pen) on social media things. Not sure I could handle any more things to keep up with. I know I’ll most likely stick with romance (contemporary) and even though I’m trying my hand at erotic romance, I don’t mind having both under the current name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, having multiple pen names would be hard to keep track of. That’s why I think it’ll probably be easier to do so if they’re the same initials as your real name.
      I’m writing open door romances too, so having a pseudonym to put some distance might be necessary. Also, I’m still working a 9-5 job and if you can get fired from posting inappropriate stuff on FB then what about subject matter of your writing? As for me, and thanks for mentioning, most people either misspell or mispronounce my name.


  5. I have no choice but to use a pseudonym. I am not happy about it, I would like to use my real name, but a woman with the exact same name is a bestselling author in my country so I can’t use it. I chose Kathleen Queen as an homage to S King and because it has a nice rhyming ring to it. Any advice? I thought of just inserting my middle name but I think it will still be confusing for people, as if a writer was named Stephen Alan King instead of the real King.

    Liked by 1 person

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