When I decided to take my writing seriously one of the first things I figured I had to do was build an on line presence. So I decided to create this blog, I also created a Facebook page and twitter and Instagram profiles to go with the site. I’m known as Samantha House on all of them, it’s my name so I saw no reason to come up with anything else. Well, turns out I should have put a little more thought into it.
The first time I came across the pen name discussion was last year in a Facebook writing group I belong to. One of the ladies in the group was asking whether or not she should go by her initials and last name or her full name. She was already known in some writing circles by her initials so the general consensus was to go with that. Must admit I wondered why she had used her initials in the first place, but hey if Tolkien and Rowling did it there must be a good reason behind it right? I continued on my merry way, still not really thinking about author names. I mean, I care about the story, not so much who wrote it until after the fact. Then I care because if I love the story I want to remember who wrote it so I can find any other stories/articles they have written.
Then earlier this year I came across Tj Klune and a blog post he wrote on pen names. You can find the post here. Read it, it’s a funny post and talks about the fact that he didn’t really think about pen names either. You see Tj writes m/m romance and because he goes by his initials a lot of fans thought he was a woman at first. Easy mistake to make considering most authors in that genre are women, but Tj clearly is not one. He makes a good point at the end, ‘that gender shouldn’t matter as long as there are stories to be told.’ I agree completely, gender shouldn’t be an issue when telling a story. Perhaps that is naive of me, I do after all have the belief that gender shouldn’t really be an issue in general, but that is a post for another day and not what I’m writing about here.
What I’m getting at is that you need to put some thought into how you want to be known. In some writing genres it is better to hide your real name for a number of reasons (erotica springs to mind, try explaining that to some people), while in others it is better to write your name in full with any university degrees/experience you have behind you (non-fiction). Regardless of whether or not you decide to use your real name, understand that once your work is out there it will be judged. Sometimes awesomely other times not, but your name will be attached to it so make damn sure you are ready for that. If not, go the pen name, you can always reveal your real name later if you wish.
Anyway, it’s something to think about and something I wish I knew to consider when I first started this. Being who I am I probably wouldn’t have gone the pen name pathway anyway, but it would have been nice to think about. I could have come up with all sorts of cool names (or not cool lol).
Enjoy your week everyone and happy creating 🙂