Posted in ✍️ Writing Tips & Resources

Why a Pseudonym (Pen Name)?

Hello! Not too long ago, I assumed the only reason an author would use a pseudonym was to hide their identity.

I never considered that famous authors worked under a pseudonym. Authors such as Mark Twain, Cassandra Claire, Maya Angelou, and Pablo Neruda.

Their real names are:

Mark Twain = Samuel Langhorne Clemens
Cassandra Claire = Judith Rumelt
Maya Angelou = Marguerite Annie Johnson
Pablo Neruda = Ricardo NeftalΓ­ Reyes Basoalto

But why tho? πŸ€”

Here are some of my theories, and personal reasons, for pseudonyms.

1. To Keep Genres Separate

Usually, if you like books by Stephen King, you generally enjoy horror. If you like books by Asimov, you’re probably into sci-fi. Usually, authors become prolific in one genre, and stick to it.

Having a name for each genre lets the readers know what to expect. It’s like your name becomes synonymous with that genre.

For instance, when you think “Nora Roberts,” you think romance πŸ’• Guess she thought so too, because she writes futuristic suspense under the name JD Robb.

2. For Creative Freedom

If you want to experiment with writing risky fiction– gruesome horror, explicit erotica, twisted crimes– you might feel more freedom to get creative with a pseudonym.

Having a pen name allows you to explore creative writing while remaining personally detached.

It’s this detachment that will give you the freedom to try something new. Because, if it doesn’t work, you can just drop the name and the experiment and keep going.

3. To Match Name to Genre

Would you read a cozy Christian romance by Cyborg Lucifer X? Hahaha Okay, maybe. But it does seem kind of jarring, huh?

Books with author names that match the genre tend to be memorable, and sound very cohesive.

Take author Bella Forrest, who writes about vampires, and coincidentally, the protagonist of Twilight (a vampire book) was named Bella. Our minds make subconscious (maybe even conscious) connections, and it’s kind of cool.

4. To Protect Your Privacy

Have you ever had a stalker? I have, and it sucks so much. Privacy is important for people for different reasons. Maybe they have a stalker, maybe they just don’t want to be famous, maybe they don’t like to be in the spotlight.

A pseudonym helps protect your real identity.

In this day and age, some people tell Facebook eeeeverything. But, for some authors, privacy matters.

5. To Be Easier to Find/Remember

If I quickly tell you about a book, which name do you think you’ll remember better and search for later: Marie Lu or QuvenzhanΓ© Coster-Waldau Ejiofor? Okay, I made that last one up, but you get my point.

If your name is difficult to spell, pronounce, or remember, a pseudonym might help you out.

Yari is not my real name, but it is my nickname. My full name is full of Z’s and Y’s and U’s. It’s weird. I barely know how to pronounce it myself. So, Yari Garcia it is πŸ˜‰

Would you or do you use a pen name?

Take care,


🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜

26 thoughts on “Why a Pseudonym (Pen Name)?

  1. I thought about using a pen name or a variation of what I call a “writer’s name”, but decided that for now I don’t need one. These are all good reasons for using a pen name; reminds me of a blog post I did a few years ago discussing pen names.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, I do. My pen name is a combination of my real name. I did this for privacy reasons but have gotten past that concern. At first I also didn’t use my photo but decided people relate better to a person’s photo than to a butterfly, a tulip or whatever.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great reasons in a clear, informative read! πŸ˜€ Pen-names are great for sure, but personally I’ve found I haven’t needed one (yet). Wishing you all the best with your future writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s not a secret, but I use my maiden name because someone with my married name writes erotica novels. I didn’t want people to get confused with their purchases, but there has been at least one church friend seeking my book at a store that asked for books by the other name and quickly said “no, that’s not her!” when shown the books. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well, I use a pen name (faith’spen). My real names are Faith Oduofomayo Okpoyo. Who would dare pronounce that?
    I chose the name because it fits what I write about. I didn’t even consider privacy in the first place.
    My pen name remains.😁

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I do use a pen name, for privacy. Ppl can also choose a pen name to hide their gender, sadly some women do this in order to sell to male readers young and old who otherwise wouldn’t give a female author the time of day. Additionally, if you are trad published and end up in book stores your last name can decide were you are shelved.

    Usually alphabetically with the last name can mean ppl with end of alphabet last names are put on lower/bottom shelves and aren’t as noticed. Sad but true. We just don’t care for crouching down to look at things on lower shelves most of the time

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Ari! Oh, I hadn’t thought of that last one! I worked at Barnes & Noble for a while, and you’re totally right. A lot of times, end-of-alphabet last names mean bottom shelves. Very interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A pen name just sounds fun to me. Or it’s as ones alter ego. I may be more reserved in person, but bold in my writing. I always liked the name Sebastian. Perhaps from that 80s cartoon, the kid by that name with the saint bernard, I don’t know. And I took interest in those famous ancient persons, writers and inventors who’s last name was the city they were from. Ie Jesus of Nazareth. So I guess Id choose… SebastiΓ‘n de Orlando. The same thought also influenced my social media, where orlandoartist is at least a hashtag in everything I post. It did help me collect local following, which is what an emerging visual artist necessarily needs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My reason for a pen name is just because my real surname (Slavic language group is all I am willing to say) would be possibly hard to decipher to English-speaking people. And I know an author who did the same, for the same reason, but with his first name (published under his real name in his homeland and under a pen name in English).

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.