Made in America

How and Why You Should Pick a Pen Name!

A pen name, otherwise known as a pseudonym, is a name that an author publishes their work under, rather than using their real name. There are many reasons why you might want to adopt a pen name for your work, and in this blog we will explore some of them.


Some of the most well-known, famous authors have used a pen name to conceal their identities in order to escape the long-held associations to their real names. For instance, have you ever heard of Richard Bachman? That is actually Stephen King – who has been known to write forwards in Bachman’s books. How about Robert Galbraith? Shockingly enough, that’s really the master of the wizarding world, J.K. Rowling!


These are just a couple of examples of famous authors using pen names.  A pen name becomes a sort of shield, allowing the author to conceal his or her identity, shake off any preconceived notions, internal or external, and to write freely in the genre of his or her choice. For those who are not already famous, a pen name offers a sense of privacy and the ability to build a brand around one’s work.


Today, we are going to delve into some of the various reasons an author might want to use this publishing tactic.

Same name as others

An author may use a pen name when their real name is either confused with another author or notable individual. 


Basic name

An author might have a very common name and want to distinguish themselves in the world. You might not have chosen to be born John Smith, but you can choose a unique name to publish under!


Avoid overexposure

Sometimes a pen name is exercised to avoid overuse.  For example, let’s say an author publishes various pieces in a magazine. Rather than have their name listed each time, the editor will use a pen name for some of the pieces to avoid overexposing the author to the readers.

Cross-genre publishing

An author might use a pen name when crossing over genres in an effort to keep from irritating their fan base. Let’s say your favorite author who writes intense crime novels starts writing heartfelt romance novels. Would you be a little perplexed? This is just a quick example of why an author may use a pen name in order to save face to their fans. It also may be easier to create marketing and promotion materials for a drastically different work for an author under a different name.


Although there isn’t a right or wrong answer, using a pen name is essentially a personal decision when it comes time to publish your book. However you choose to proceed, Dorrance will work with you, whomever you choose to be.


So, whether you choose your real name or a pen name, the fact of the matter is that you’ve made your publishing dreams a reality and your work is now available for people far and wide to read!

Ready to publish under your preferred pen name? Contact us!

Ready to Get Started?

Publication via the Dorrance imprint is a perfect choice for the author looking for a complete, high quality, personal publishing program that leverages the expertise of publishing professionals. Find out for yourself today!

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