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Writing Tip: Pen Name

Renee Stevens


Thank you once again to K.C. for once again providing us with a tip for our Tip Thursday! Hope you enjoy KC's thoughts on Pen Names!

Pen Name




Pen name or not to pen name…that is the question.


Do you have a pen name or pseudonym that you write under? If not do you really need one?


First, you need to think about where your stories will be posted. Are you posting only in an online forum or are you submitting to publishers, magazines or even entering writing contest and competitions where a silly screen name like SexyGymBoy83 might not be a good idea.


Choosing pen name is just as important as choosing a title for that brilliant story of yours, so where does you begin? Before you start thinking of a pen name first consider your own. Is it rememberable and easy to spell? Does your name get slaughter every time you meet someone new? Or do you need to protect your identity if you’re writing controversial subject matter.


If so, then you might want to consider writing under a pen name. Unless you’re trying your hand at comedy don’t use something off the wall or a crazy pun. It’s usually best to keep it short and simple and most important, easy to spell. You don’t want readers to not be able to find you because they can’t spell your pen name.


Did you know that there is a formula for pen names? Several famous authors believe that a 2-syllable first name with a 1-syllable last name sticks with readers. Example: Stephen King (even if he was lucky enough to have a cool real name that worked well.)


Also, another thing to consider, if your story gets published, where will your book sit on the book shelf? Pen names with D-L will be at eyelevel on a book shelf.


Last, you can always ride on someone else coat-tail. Just because you don’t have the fan base that an established author has doesn’t mean your book can’t sit on the shelf beside theirs. Just because you are not as famous as Hemingway, with the right pen name, your books can be rubbing shoulders on the shelf with his.

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I've been using the pseudonym Cailen almost as long as I have been writing. My mother told me stories how she would only use her first initals as it got her more interview for jobs. I decided that I wanted to use a name that would be androgonus, I did not want my readers to form assumptions just because I was a certain sex.


I would recommend giving your name considerable thought before deticating yourself to it, cause once you do, theres no going back.


Cailen J. Vautour

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I am using "Sid Love" as my pen name since I joined GA. I kinda like it so I am sticking with it.

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Hi, I'm Andrew Davis, close to the beginning of the alphabet; this is I, me, and all that it encompasses.

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Well damn, I totally screwed that up. Picked a one-syllable first name and a two-syllable last name.

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Mine was easy for me to remember nevermind anyone else :P I had marlew at first but people kept calling me marlew and that really irritated after a while. So if I ever get published it will be Mark Lewis doesnt matter if its controversial.

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