For Davida: Pseudonym or Not?

>> Monday, June 1, 2009

Davida said: Stephanie, I need your help in making this decision. To have or not to have... that is the question--a pen name, that is. I've researched various opinions on this topic, but as my trusty blog counselor/ mentor fiction writer, I'd like to know your opinion, specific to my situation.

Well, it's a great question. However, as an unpublished novelist, I have to recommend taking any answer I give with a grain of salt.

But, of course, I have an opinion.

The way I see it, there are two reasons to use a pseudonym. One is the obvious: to preserve your anonymity (and there any number of reasons to do so - a dayjob that could be adversely affected, preference for non-celebrity, whatever). The other reason is one that I'm personally for: whimsy.

So what do you do?

Well, here's what I don't know. I have no idea how the publishing world feels about it, but I suspect that it depends. If you're doing a scholarly tome, they would probably prefer that you use your credentials. But, especially if you're doing something out of the ordinary or diametrically opposed to your dayjob, they might be very understanding. I suspect that it's quite common with romance novels.

So, yeah, I'd go for the pseudonym.

I'd make a point of trying not to pick too silly a name, something that would throw off a publisher. You might even want to wait until your book is in the process of being sold to talk to them about it. (I think they have to know your real name for tax purposes.) Chances are, they can guide you in the right direction.

In the meantime, isn't it fun to play with names?


  • Davida

    Yes, it is fun to play with names. I get to be anyone I want for a change. How's "Jazzy Faye"? Just kidding. I am going to take your advice though. Thanks for taking the time to answer!


  • Joel Klebanoff

    Stephanie, this raises an interesting question. Is your name really Stephanie B. or are you using a pseudonym? I was thinking of stalking you and knowing your real name makes that easier. Oh wait, maybe that's another reason for preferring anonymity.

  • Stephanie B

    Ah, Joel, I actually MEANT to use a pseudonym, but I forgot.

    As far as you know.


  • The Mother

    I would imagine that publicity tours would be intensely complicated if using a pseudonym. But then, I'm just an unpublished novelist, too.

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