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 Neftalí Reyes Basoalto
But why tho? 🤔
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 💕 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 Quvenzhané 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 😉
Would you or do you use a pen name?
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