21 Responses to “Pen names”

  1. JenB November 3, 2008 at 7:17 PM #

    Crap! And here I was, all ready to pitch my newest story as “Candi Cooter”, erotica author extraordinaire!

  2. Sybil November 3, 2008 at 7:27 PM #

    K I admit it, I saw the title and thought you were going to bitch at me for my twitter.Yes I do think everything is about me ;)I agree!  I would still read the book if rec’ed or if it somehow crossed my eye.  But I admit to closing emails, backing out of websites or tossing a book into a pile and moving on to the next if the name is pRony or something stupid.Too many book, too little time… seems like you wouldn’t want to do that… or maybe the thought is to ‘stand out’ dunno doesn’t work for me.  Might work for the cooter up there though, have you been to her blog *g*

  3. Annmarie November 3, 2008 at 7:27 PM #

    I’ve seen some real eye wideners recently.  I’ll be watching this closely.

  4. Portia Da Costa November 3, 2008 at 7:29 PM #

    Have a feeling that Portia Da Costa might be a tad on the silly side… esp. as am not a Brazilian princess but a fat middle aged housewife from Yorkshire. LOL

  5. jmc November 3, 2008 at 7:38 PM #

    I have to admit that when I’m browsing books by new-to-me authors, the name matters. Some do seem rather pornish to me. It’s hard to even get to the blurb when I’m already snickering over the name on the spine. Plus, in the back of my mind I’m thinking: if the author intentionally chose such a purple name, how much purple prose am I going to find in the book? Is it worth it? Nah. And on to the next book on the shelf.

  6. Lauren Dane November 3, 2008 at 7:42 PM #


  7. Jaci Burton November 3, 2008 at 7:52 PM #

    I’m so upset I chose a normal name and not Kristy Kreme.


  8. Chris Redding November 3, 2008 at 7:55 PM #

    Mine’s my maiden name. I answered to it for the first 25 years of my life so I thought it would be easy to get back into the habit of answering to it at conferences.
    Jenna Kernan tells a story about initially wanting to use Jenna Jamison as her pen name. I almost fell off the chair laughing.

  9. Katrina Strauss November 3, 2008 at 7:58 PM #

    In my case, my pen name is waaaay more normal and easier to spell or remember than my real name! (Damned 70’s parents…) “Standing out” is fine so long as it’s not of the sore thumb variety!

  10. Angie November 3, 2008 at 8:11 PM #

    This is going to be one of those posts where I create panic and paranoia in people across the net, isn’t it? But honestly, for the most part, you can probably be pretty sure I’m not talking about you. I think unusual names are fine as long as they’re not unusually porny or so unusual no one can every hope to pronounce it (like Samhain, heh), remember it or spell it .

    Sybil, I haven’t been on Twitter for about four days, except for about five minutes this morning, so I promise it wasn’t about you (I don’t even know what you’re talking about!) But I’m like you, I won’t even consider purchasing a book with a ridiculous author name. Or really bad cover art.

    Portia, I think your name is classic and lovely!

    Jaci, come on, you told me earlier you wanted to be Rainey Dey. You can’t change your mind now and take mine.

    jmc, I think there are a lot more people out there than we might realize, but who just have never said it in public.

    And I almost spit out my sangria when I read “Candi Cooter”. Nice. Very classy 😉

  11. azteclady November 3, 2008 at 11:15 PM #

    Creating paranoia ain’t that hard *looking innocent*Kidding aside, ridiculous names are as bad as ugly covers–at the very least I’ll think twice before buying, and thinking twice with me is a 3 to 1 chance I’ll refrain from buying.

  12. Lori November 3, 2008 at 11:58 PM #

    I don’t understand pen names anyway. It’s so much work to write a book, much less get it published… why wouldn’t you want your name on it so you can point and say with pride, “I did that.”

  13. Alexis Fleming November 4, 2008 at 8:15 AM #

    In answer to Lori, some of us feel using a pen name might actually be a wise option. My very first published story, a romantic short story,  had the hero with his zip down about two inches. Of course the heroine is checking it out. I published it under my married name and my mother-in-law was horrified because it was “rude.” lol My father-in-law was a minister of religion and I knew he’d get offended if I used my married name so I went with my maiden name and a variation of my first name. That way I wasn’t deliberately upsetting my in-laws, particularly as I’m writing erotic romance. And hey, it’s a name I remember to answer to when someone calls me. Mind you, my mother-in-law still keeps asking me when she’s going to get a copy of one of my books.Um…never???

  14. Katrina Strauss November 4, 2008 at 11:35 AM #

    Lori, Two reasons for me. One, my real name is very unusual and has always been a challenge for others to spell or pronounce, so I chose something more “accessible” for my readers. Two, due to the nature of what I write, I’d prefer to lend my husband and three children some privacy. My real name may not be on my books, but I know I wrote them, while my readers know me as Katrina Strauss. That’s satisfaction pleny. 🙂

  15. Katrina Strauss November 4, 2008 at 11:36 AM #

    Plenty, even. Yes I iz a srs writer. 😉

  16. Dawn November 4, 2008 at 4:24 PM #

    LOL. Dawn is my middle name and Montgomery is my grandmother’s married name. She always wanted to write a book, but didn’t and loved romance novels (especially rude ones *WEG*).

    I laugh a lot when I see really odd names. Some of them are just hilarious, but no, I don’t take them seriously.

    Sometimes I wonder if they’ve thought it out before they pick their names, especially those that are hard to spell. It makes finding them online that much harder.

  17. Dawn November 4, 2008 at 4:34 PM #

    Re: Lori,

    Some are in positions, professions, that would be upset with us writing erotic romance. This could/would lead to some getting fired. School teachers, military members, student councilors, etc.

    Others choose a penname b/c of less political reasons, their original name is difficult to spell or remember, is too common, sounds too masculine/feminine, etc. Sometimes they like the way another name sounds, or are told by a publisher that you need a penname. Still others switch genres and don’t want to confuse their readers.

    Sometimes you choose a penname b/c you are shy and nervous about what you write. Or you don’t want to deal with family members who would cause drama.

    And sometimes you choose a penname as a joke, and unfortunately, I’ve seen that joke come back to bite quite a few later. LOL.

  18. Allyn Daniels November 5, 2008 at 9:19 AM #

    I looked for something unique, yet that had flow and would look good in large script on a cover or in bold times new roman. LOL

    Also, something the URL was available for!


  19. lorelei james November 5, 2008 at 12:02 PM #

    One reason I have two names: shelving in libraries and bookstores. I write in two separate genres, some folks will follow me from one genre to the other…some not so much. I get the best of both worlds, I answer to both names, and if you ask me if I write anything else, I will gladly tell you either name in either genre.Also, some publishing contracts stipulate you have to write for that publisher only in that genre, for the duration of the contract. under that name.Oh, and although Angie *is* my editor, and we share the same last name…we are not related 🙂

  20. Grace Draven November 5, 2008 at 11:57 PM #

    I chose the name Grace Draven for several reasons. First, I used to work in a bookstore ye these many years ago. While the height of bookshelves has changed and changed the placement of books to a degree, I knew that using my real name would be bad visual marketing. If I lucked out, sold to NY and was printed, I’d end up shelved on either a bottom shelf (where buyers don’t really like to crouch for long periods to scan book titles) or placed high, where the average height woman had trouble reading the spine of a book and sometimes reaching for a book without standing on tiptoe or finding a stool.

    With so many titles competing for the reader interest, a reader doesn’t have to go to that kind of effort. The name Draven would put me at eye level in most shelving systems.

    Second, both names are easy to spell and according to my own little test market responses, unique enough to be memorable.

    Third, it’s the name of a character I created based on a dear friend who fought the battle with cancer and lost. So there’s an emotional attachment to the name as well.

  21. Jules Jones November 8, 2008 at 11:03 AM #

    Sometimes there’s already an author out there using your real name. If you’re new to the game and your real name is Stephen King, you’re probably going to have to use a pseudonym…

About Me

Angela James

There is nothing worse than writing a bio. And writing one for your blog sidebar? Blech. Maybe you landed here via Google, followed me from Twitter (does that make you a stalker?) or maybe we met at a conference or you clicked a link from a comment I made at a blog you visited. Hopefully whatever I said didn't make you so mad you came looking for a picture to throw darts at (yep, that's me up above, in my favorite cowboy hat) but instead drove you to find out more about the amazingly witty and intelligent person behind the amazingly witty and intelligent comment.

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