There are many reasons writers choose to use a pen name for one or more books.
Usually, it’s because of a complete change of genre or perhaps the topic matter is too far removed from what their loyal readers expect from authors they have read.
If an author is well known for children books, perhaps a radical change to romantica would be a good reason to adopt a pen name or nom de plume.
If you are publishing with Kindle, KDP makes it very easy to do this. It’s as simple as changing the author’s name under the Contributors section when you are preparing the book for publication.
When your book is published, it will show in the Bookshelf page of your account along with all your other books you have published.
Your real name will not show anywhere on the Amazon page once your book has been published. I haven’t tried, but it would seem that you can do this for as many books and pen names as you like.
Other publishing platforms offer similar facilities, whereas some require you to open a new account.
With so many ebooks available now, it’s becoming harder to be noticed on the Kindle Store in particular. So if you feel like being adventurous and trying your hand at a new genre but are not sure how it will go, perhaps experimenting with your new material using a pen name might be a good way to test the water.
So happy writing. Whatever your name is.
12 thoughts on “Publishing Using A Pen Name”
Or you could be writing under a pen name because your actual name is difficult to pronounce and spell for the English-speaking market you target. Just a thought :)
Hmm a question I think over a lot. My married name, and the one I have used for the past 20 years is Gillian Smellie. I’ve heard all the jokes. But you have to admit it is memorable. If I were a baker I might consider a name change, but surely the name wouldn’t put off readers? Or would it? My maiden name is Aikin, simple enough but never ever spelt correctly. People always put in an “e” or a “t” or even both.
I don’t have to worry too hard just yet, but I’m hopeful it will be a very reall issue in the not too distant future!
There’s an old adage Gillian that to become well known, an author’s name should have no more than 5 or six letters. e.g.: Adams, Rankin, King, Fforde, Austen. The reason being that these short names can fit in very large type on the front cover! But then again, Hemingway had no problem. So go with what you think best and feel most comfortable with. :))
I chose my pen name because my surname is one that is consistently misspelled or mispronounced. And I changed my given from Julie to Julia because it sounded better with the “Indigo” surname… and some website said that it was also better numerologically! LOL
So my suggestion would be to see who else is writing with the surname Aikin and it’s spelling variants, and go with one of those. As I changed my given name, there’s nothing that says that you have to go with the exact spelling of your birth surname, or that you need to go with that at all. There are no “Indigos” in my lineage! Then again, there is the name recognition of Troy Aiken, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback… could be useful to piggyback on that.
Neither Aikin nor Smellie feature much on Amazon, of those that do two are relatives (one of each) and long dead! Sentimentally I like Aikin as I am the last one and there is nothing my father would love more than to see the Aikin name in print again. I would rather die than become Gillian Aiken – I’ve spent my entire life correcting that spelling.
I suspect I will go with Smellie, that’s my name now and it does have the memorable factor. I just wonder if people will be afraid to ask for the book in shops!!!
Just as well your name is not Ima. Then again, it might be a good idea.
I have an interesting related problem. The series of books I mean to begin publishing within the next few months is couched in a scholarly fiction. The bard and the hero of my termite people set out on a series of adventures, which the bard Di’fa’kro’mi narrates and writes down, after which Prf. Kaitrin Oliva, a human linguistic anthropologist, translates them and publishes them on Earth. I’ve always intended to have the title page ov v.1 read: “The War of the Stolen Mother, by Di’fa’kro’mi the Remembrancer. Translated by Prf. Kaitrin Oliva” and have my name appear only in the copyright information and maybe in an acknowledgment.
This would be easy to accomplish if you were speaking with a “real” person at a “real” publisher. But how do you force that arrangement into the mold of the form they give you at KDP and CreateSpace? I don’t want “Di’fa’kro’mi” or “Kaitrin Oliva” to be considered my pseudonym or pen name. And I these want these books to be listed under my own name on Amazon and other sales venues, not just on my author page.
Maybe I’ll have to make an initial title page with my name, and then add a second title page at the beginning of the text. But that kind of ruins the impression I wanted to create – that these books really were written in the future.
Anybody have any suggestions?
@Lorinda – Just a thought: Perhaps you could be an editor ‘friend’ of Prf. Kaitrin Olivia who has graciously lent a hand to bring these books to the public eye. If the title ‘editor’ is problematic because a true editor needs to be listed in the book, then perhaps ‘patron’ etc.
“That way you could have your true identity included in the pages without raising suspicion to the average eye. Of course, the intrigue would be interesting and as the word spread that the ‘editor’ or ‘patron’ is indeed fictitious and actually the writer herself, you’d be thought a bit mad… which always helps sales!
Thanks, Bree, for the suggestion! Actually, I probably should have mentioned that my books are laid in the 30th century, so Kaitrin and I are not contemporaries! I’ve always maintained (tongue-in-cheek, I’d best say, so you’ll know I’m not too crazy!) that I’m channeling these writings from the future! Here’s the disclaimer that I always put on the back of the title page of my published books (if anyone has noticed it yet, they haven’t commented): “All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. However, the author does not guarantee that such characters and events will not come into existence at some time in the future.”
Maybe I could list myself as the “channeler”!
I’m so excited to find your blog, and your book!
While my current WIP deals with 21st-century humans, my second deals with proto-avians living on earth 55 million years ago, 10 million years after the Cretaceous extinction event!
Can’t wait to read more of your stuff! However.. I need to get off the internet, and back to writing for now. Thx to Derek for this post that you replied to! :D
Ha, I’m excited, Julia! If you want to know why I set my stories so far in the future, you need to read the page on my blog called “My Future History.” And if you’re interested in intelligent avians, I think you’d enjoy my Prf. A’a’ma! I also have sample chapters of “The Termite Queen” posted on my blog. And your book laid 10 million years ago sounds like something I’d enjoy, too!
Just glanced at your blog. I used to live in Austin – did grad. work at UT and worked at the UT Library back in the ’60s and ’70s.
Let’s say, My name is X and I’ve chosen Y as my pen name. Officially my name is X everywhere whether it is my birth certificate, my bank accounts, my college degrees anywhere X is my official identity. Y is just a name I have chosen to do my writing and I want to publish my work under the same. Is it possible for me to have my debut novel publish under the same whether it is a eBook or in hard copy? Will there be any legal consequences for choosing an unofficial name?
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