52

If your editor says something might look unprofessional, you should listen to your editor. Your editor is a professional, whose task is precisely to make your work appear at its best. We, on the other hand, are a bunch of internet amateurs with good intentions. As @ArkensteinXII mentions in a comment, if you wish to go by "Babs", you can go by "Babs", no ...


26

You can publish under any name you choose. Whether it makes a difference to your sales is a very open question, but if it makes you feel better about publishing your work, then by all means use a pen name. Many great writers have done so -- Mark Twain was a pen name; so was Andre Norton. More recently, John Varley was a pen name -- and these are just the ...


22

Yes...but... Yes, of course you can use your pen name. Your audiences need never hear anything different. None of your marketing materials need give your real name. The issue comes when you need to do things officially. Say, you get booked for a lecture and they set up transportation or a hotel for you. You need ID for those, so they'll need to be in ...


19

Unlike the other answers, let me try to give you a practical, nuts and bolt answer. When you go to self-publish your book, either as an ebook(Amazon, Kobo, etc) or print(Createspace etc), you are asked to give an author name. This field is not automatically filled based on your registered name. So you can fill in any name you want in the author field. This ...


19

I think right now some publishers are looking for diversity, especially small presses. Li Ang Chang might get a little farther than Susan Brown, and probably quite a bit farther than Joe Brown. I also think you have a good point about being a positive representation of an Asian writer, particularly if you aren't writing about Asian culture. Make the point ...


16

Partly because your name is the same as a Slovenian politician famous enough to be listed in Wikipedia, you should consider an alternative. Do you like your mother's maiden name? Would you prefer a shortened version or an English translation of your surname (Like Ana Novik or Ana Newson, for example)? It should be short enough, memorable and have some charm ...


15

Here's another way to think about it. Why should you use your real name? Use it if... you want anyone who Googles you to read you (or more likely, your reviews). Use it if... you want everyone in your social network to read your reviews, or you. Use it if... you want every prospective employer to read your reviews, or you... as part of standard screening ...


15

Using a deliberately deceptive pen name is essentially a marker of fake authenticity. It can lead to success, but also criticism on the grounds of cultural appropriation. I would personally recommend against it. While not illegal, or even particularly uncommon, it strikes me as a little ethically suspect. There are two cases I would exempt from this ...


13

Women writers used to do it because only men authors were taken seriously. Sometimes people don't want the fame from their writing they just want to do it for the art. The pen name allows them peace from the hype of their book. Sometimes people are afraid of critics and feel better if its not actually their name being bashed it makes it feel less personal.


13

The form for filing copyright has fields for both "Author" (the person whose name is on the work) and "Copyright Claimant" (the person who is claiming the copyright). Under Author, there is an option to check "Pseudonymous" to indicate that the Author is a pen name. If the Copyright Claimant and the Author are different names, there is space on the form to ...


13

People adopt pen names for all sorts of reasons. George Orwell, Mark Twain, and John Cougar Melloncamp all had pen names for different reasons. Realistically, there's no one that can answer this for you. And as you point out, this is a business decision. As such, you should probably be in contact with your publisher, agent, or business manager as the case ...


11

There's a long history of women using male pseudonyms to be taken seriously. It's a sad fact that there's still prejudice, even in academia, against female authors. And so the practice continues; by women publishing anything from research to fiction under a male pseudonym. It's also been noted that applicants using the exact same CV/Resumé with a "black"...


11

I don't know how the publisher would take advantage of you. Your contract with the publisher (or agent) will be under your real name. Only then is the contract legally binding. In that contract, you will specify that you want to publish under a pseudonym (and whether your real identity must be held confidential by the publisher). "Credit" will go to your ...


10

This is entirely a matter of choice. There are a number of famous authors who write in other genres using a pen name, and they have proven to be just as successful in their new genres. As long as you are writing under just one pen name, you shouldn't really encounter any problems. If, however, you choose to write under more than one pen name, then you might ...


10

There was a story a while back on the internet. Some little girl had a Japanese themed sleepover. Everyone wore kimonos and other things like that. The internet went all crazy. People called it cultural appropriation. Then actual Japanese people weighted in on the topic. Everyone said that in Japan there is no concept of cultural appropriation. it brings ...


10

I do not know the source of that claim you heard, but I think you're taking it too literally. Generally, most authors just use their name. There's nothing about the name "J.R.R. Tolkien" or "Terry Pratchett" or "Ursula Le Guin" that's particularly related to speculative fiction, except after the fact - those names are related to the genre because that's what ...


9

If you add commas to your first example, it will carry the weight of the parens without needing the larger pause and extra words. The quote marks and the generic wording of ThisCo make it clear you're using placeholders. My friend, "Chuck," who worked for a vendor, "ThisCo," decided he'd had enough. Subsequent references don't need the quotes. Chuck ...


9

Do keep in mind @RobtA's advise concerning copyright. I'd also like to suggest that you look at what you write and decide what type of name fits. Take steps: language (English, Chinese, Spanish, etc) 1.1 decide whether to apply the same language to both first name and surname or use different languages quantity of first names 2.1 one or two (some languages ...


9

Names are almost never globally unique. This is true whether the owner chooses or the owner's parents do. Author Alex Feinman even has a note on his web site (.net) saying "looking for the other one? that's .com" with a link. If you search Google or LinkedIn for a name, odds are good you'll find more than one person. Use the name you've chosen, and try ...


9

There are a few different things you might want to consider with a pen-name/pseudonym. You don't have to, but the opportunity to "make one up" allows you to experiment more, so why not give it a shot? It will certainly help you narrow things down. 1) Marketing A pseudonym will often be tailored for its purpose in a way that our regular names usually aren'...


9

Edward Elmer Smith is not well known but E. E. 'Doc' Smith certainly is, punctuation and all, among the right classes of science fiction fans. As other people have said, brackets may look odd but if you want to go by a nickname then there seems to be no reason not to - though your editor is the expert here.


8

Is your goal to actually hide your identity? Like you're advocating the violent overthrow of the government and you don't want the police to track you down? Or maybe more realistically, you're afraid your writing might interfere with business relationships, like you don't want co-workers to know that you're writing sex novels? Or is it that you think a ...


8

Pseudonyms, and also professional ghostwriters hired to help a celebrity push out a book, are such common things that publishers and agents have contracts and legal departments to accommodate them. As was said in the other answers, the person getting paid being different from the name on the cover is "business as usual". Probably the only threat to a ...


7

I write under a pen name, and haven't had any problems. The contracts are signed with my legal name, 'writing as' my pen name. Royalty cheques are payable to and cashed by my legal name. I think there are some US states where you can/are supposed to register your pseudonym - I think that if you do that, you can actually sign contracts and bank under that ...


7

I don't believe I've seen anyone else mention the "intermediate" option of Anglicizing your first name only, or equivalently picking a pen name that combines a typical English first name with an Asian last name. "Li Ang" could become "Leanna", for example. (Or pick whatever strikes your fancy, but I do think "Leanna Chang" has a nice ring to it.) As I'm ...


7

You needn't make that decision until you get an agent. You're quite right to identify this as a thorny situation, with strong considerations in both directions (and maybe additional options besides). If you have a strong preference one way or another, either way is certainly workable. But if you don't, if you're willing to work either way depending on what ...


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