Why You Don’t Want To Use a Pen Name

Why You Don’t Want To Use a Pen Name

The Nom de Plume

A pen name, or nom de plume, is the pseudonym an author uses to conceal their true identity. Famous authors will often use a pen name when writing in another genre than that which they are known for. Sometimes famous people will use a pen name because they do not want the book to be associated with what they do, or they might  not want to use their fame to sell the book. So should you use a pseudonym? It is probably not a good idea.


Don’t hide

When you are an unknown author, using a pen name will only mask your identity. How do you expect to sell books if you do not give your real name? At this point in your publishing career you actually want to garner fame, and that will not be possible if no one knows who you really are. If the book is something you want people to know about, members of the local community might recognize you and the word will get around. On the other hand, if your book is controversial in any way, having the locals recognize you could be embarrassing for you. In my experience, new author-publishers tend to use odd pen names anyway. Your old high school nickname is not likely appropriate either. My advice is that unless you are already well known in another field, do not consider using a pen name.



6 thoughts on “Why You Don’t Want To Use a Pen Name

  1. First of all, let me say thank you for your book. It has been an invaluable publishing guide (1st Edition). It has helped me to create a book indistinguishable from trade publications. I do wish that there was more information on what should be done after publishing, but I do recommend your book to anyone in Canada who wishes to publish like a professional.

    That said, I disagree with this post. If you are an expert in your field, and you need the credibility of a lifetime to support your views in a non-fiction book, then a pen name is not a good idea. However, if you wish to write fiction a pen name does not interfere. I have published under a pseudonym because my legal name is too complicated to pronounce and too difficult to remember. I do not hide my identity, and on my website a reader could get my legal name without an issue. However, a pseudonym helps in my business dealings, because it is unique and easy to remember. Do you really think that Archibald Alexander Leach would have gotten as far as Carry Grant?

    1. Thank you for recommending my book. There is now a second edition with updated information and resources. Soon it will be available as an ebook and I am writing a version for American self-publishers.


  2. So basically you’re saying don’t use a pen name.

    That’s okay for people that have NEVER published in their lives. For people that have written beforehand – such as nonfiction writer going into fiction – it’s a must.

    I mean, only a fool would think that people would want to read a criminal book by someone that writes about poor quality water for example.

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