Hello Friends and Welcome.
Today I wanted to share a little bit about pens names and why I chose to use one. As some of you may know, I have chosen to write my thriller and horror novels under a pen name rather than under my personal legal name. There are a number of reasons that I have chosen to do this, but the primary reason is that I have chosen to provide separation between my professional corporate life and my writing life.
I am proud of the work that I present to the world and would not be embarrassed to publish my work under my own name, however, I feel that it is best to keep my writing life separate from my corporate life. I do not want the people I come into contact with in my professional life to have preconceived notions about myself or the company that I work for.
Authors use pen names for a variety of reasons.
- Cross Genre Writing – Many authors will have a couple pens names if they write in different genres. In the age of Amazon recommendation algorithms it is a smart move to write books in separate genres under different names in order to better present your work and have it show up in Amazon’s “Also Bought” section for novels of the same genre. Also, if you write hard-boiled detective novels and then suddenly publish a chick lit novel, some of your fans might be frustrated or perplexed when they pick up your new novel expecting one thing and getting something completely different.
- Same Name as Another Individual – It is entirely possible that an author may share a name with an already-famous or established individual. There are actually quite a few Dan Browns in the world, for example.
- Potential Overexposure – This is more applicable to writers of articles, but there are some writers that write under a few pen names in order to avoid overuse if they publish various pieces in the same publication. Rather than have their name listed the same on every piece, they will often publish under different names to avoid overexposing themselves to the readers.
- Need for Anonymity – Sometimes an author may write an exposé or need to remain anonymous for professional reasons.
Choosing to use a pen name is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer, truly (though if you do write that exposé, think about it!). Likely I will publish my fantasy epic under my own legal name. My pen name, Kellie Katrin, was chosen based on a couple of unrelated events and a google search to verify it was unique.