If you want to create a pseudonym, read this post. We give you 5 ways to choose a pseudonym that suits you and your work.
What Is A Pseudonym?
A pseudonym is ‘A fictitious name, especially one used by an author.’ Sometimes it is referred to as a pen name or an alias.
Why Use A Pseudonym?
There are a variety of reasons.
- You may want to keep your real name to yourself for privacy. Remember that if you do this, your fans will never know the real you. Lee Child‘s real name is James Dover Grant.
- Your name doesn’t fit the genre. If your surname is Slaughter and you want to write romance, you may need a new name.
- A well-known author may want to cross genres and not alienate their readers. Imagine buying a Nicholas Sparks novel, expecting a romance, only to find out that its a fantasy novel for children?
- A famous author may want to change publishers. Brian A. Klems says: ‘Another reason for using a pen name is to switch publishers. When an author is under contract, her publisher may own the rights to any upcoming work under her name. Often authors will take up a new name so they can shop around their work while avoiding legal problems (be sure to read your contract closely, though, because some prohibit this).’
- You may want to approach publishers under a different name because you did not have success with a previous query, or you may have self-published a book that did not do well.
- You may want to write under a name that is the opposite sex to you.
- Another author may already be writing under your name and you don’t want to be confused with them.
- You may have a truly awful name and you just don’t want to use it. (Hitler, Binns, Hogfather) You do not believe it sounds like an author’s name.
- Your given name may be too difficult for most people to spell and remember.
Remember that the name on the book is how you will need to present yourself in future.
Before You Make The Choice
Do this exercise for yourself. It will show you that naming is important and that you should take care when you create a pseudonym.
What’s in a name?
- What does your name mean?
- Why do you have it?
- How has it affected you?
- Is there a name you would rather have been called?
Make sure that you find out what your new name means, how it will sound, and how it may affect you.
5 Ways To Choose A Pseudonym
1. To Create A Romance Pseudonym
First Name: Name of your first pet or your mother’s name.
Surname: Name of the first street you lived on.
Examples: Chloe St James or Elizabeth Madison.
2. To Create A Literary Pseudonym
First Name: Surname of your favourite author.
Surname: Name of a city or town in the UK.
Examples: Fitch Lancaster or Faulkner Stirling.
3. To Create A Thriller Pseudonym
First Name: Your grandfather’s initials, or the first name of one of the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
Surname: Any Irish surname.
Examples: K.D. Connolly or Matthew Ryan
4. To Create A Fantasy Pseudonym
First Name: Your best friend’s or your cousin’s initials.
Surname: Look for a surname here: Fantasy Name Generator
Examples: K.L. Cole or G.D. Shannon
5. Use A Generator
Whichever One You Choose
Have fun with this, say it out loud, think about it for a few days, and then make your choice.
by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson
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