Sunday, 6 February 2011

Do you use a Pen Name?

Consider that a serious question.  As a writer, should I use a pen name or not?

I am seriously asking myself this question and racking my brains out as to what pen name to use (or should I use one?) now that I've began to submit my writing to publishers.  I had a chat with a fellow writer and editor a few days ago and asked her, 'Would you use a pen name?'  Her answer was, 'No.  Because I want people to know it is me.'  Good point.

My husband tells me the same thing.  He keeps saying, 'Why would you want a fictitious name, someone who doesn't exist, to own your writing?  Wouldn't you want people to know it's you who wrote the book?'  Same point.  But I still can't make up my mind.

So I asked a dear friend, my writer Bff,  Sabini Rowwho is now on her journey to publishing and her answer is:  'Yes, I am going to use a pen name.'  In all our recent conversations about this, it was only tonight that she gave me a very concrete answer that made me ponder.  She said it gives her the freedom to express her creativity, it doesn't have any boundaries, it means knocking down all the walls....and cited Mark Twain - it projects sense of comfort.  Incidentally, she has just opened her fresh Author Blog so I'd like to invite you all to check it out.  I promise you, you will love her like I do. http://sabinirow.blogspot.com.

Tonight, I am left with these thoughts and still haven't decided. Currently, I am using LP Lambert as my writer's name, although I am still not very sure about that.

This means, I need your help to tell me your honest opinion.  Would you use a pen name or not?  If yes, why?

23 comments:

Loribeth said...

I keep going back and forth about using a pen name also. I thought I had chosen one, but now I don't think that name fits.

Theresa Milstein said...

I like your name. It's alliterative. It's gender-neutral. Besides, you have your name plastered everywhere - Facebook and your blog, so you already have name recognition. I say stay with Len Lambert!

Old Kitty said...

For my published works (hey I can dream!!! LOL!!) no, I'd want my full name under my stories!!! For my blog - yes!! I can be a whole different persona on my blog!!! But my writing is me!! LOL!!

I think LP Lambert is a great name to use! Take care
x

Niki said...

I think I would use a pen name because my name is boring! LP Lambert is very cool :o)

Niki said...

I think I lost my first comment, will try again.

I would use a pen name because my name is so boring. LP Lambert is very cool :o)

Jenn said...

I've been trying to figure that out for a while too. My last name is hard to spell so I've considered alternate spellings/last names but my hubby thinks if people want to read my books they'll figure out how to spell our last name, like people do with Jon Scieszka's. (haha, I just had to look up the spelling of his name.)

Let me know what you decide, I'm still debating. ;)

gideon 86 said...

I've been toying with the same idea. I finally come up with my solution.

YES, I would. In my case I write in different genres. My first book in the first in the series of about five books. It is an M/G fantasy that will eventually go to a Y/A fantasy.

After my first book I wrote a very and I mean edgy Y/A contemporary. My two writing styles are like night and day. I don't want my sweet fantasy to be tarnished by this edgy contemporary dealing with physical and mental abuse, sex, and other adult issues.

I decided to use a pen name for the edgier writing. Why not use different names? One has nothing to do with another. It's not that I am not proud I what I wrote, I just think it is more beneficial financially to keep the two separate. You know how puritanical our society is.

I hope that helps.

Michael

Misha said...

I know that I will use a pen name for two reasons:

1) People can't even spell my name, let alone remember it.

2) I hate being defined by what I do. Unfortunately it is a tendency blasted non-writers tend to have. Be it that they see you as this weirdo that writes violence into stories or the Fantasy writer who should by no means move into another genre.

:-)

L.A. Colvin said...

For my first try I'm not really using a pen name. Just my initials. But if I swap to another genre then I might. Nice to meet a fellow crusader.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I don't want to stand apart from my readers. So much grief is in the world already from people standing back emotionally from those around them. I want to say with my writing : this is what I feel to be important in how to live life well. And authenticity is part of the foundation to true great writing. But that's just me. You have a great blog, Roland

Catherine Ensley said...

Hi, I just joined Rach's Platform Building Crusade, and am stopping by to say hello. No, I wouldn't use a pen name, unless I was writing soft porn; I'm not and probably never will be. Just not me. :)

Melissa Sarno said...

I hadn't really thought about the name thing until I got engaged recently and wondered if I would take my fiance's name. Then I wondered, if I did, what name would I publish under? I never thought about a pen name, but I can see where it would have its benefits. I think you should go with your gut and do what feels right :-) For me, I think I'm sticking with my real name.

L.T. Elliot said...

I do use a pen name and it's partly for that very reason: I need the freedom to say what needs to be said. And sometimes, the nametag messes that up for me.

Loree said...

I don't know - it's a loaded question. No for the very reasons you mentioned above and yes for all the reasons you mentioned above. So that's not much help. I do think that a pen name will help if your real name is difficult to remember or pronounce :)

Ann said...

I toyed with the idea of using a pen name, thought it would give me a little more freedom in my writing and also I couldn't think of anything that seemed to express what I wanted to about myself. I think your name is great. I would stick with it if I were you.

Now I am off to check out your friends blog. Thanks for the link, Len. :)

Her highness, Samantha Vérant said...

Hi! New follower and fellow crusader! ***waves*** I used to use a pen name for MG & YA, but now I'm pitching a memoir---which kind of defeats the purpose! Dare to Follow Your Heart

Jessica Bell said...

I'm not using a pen name. Yet. I too want people to know it's me. But I'm going to use a pen name in the near future because I'm going to be co-writing a children's book. It's a totally different genre to what I normally write, so I need the pen name for practical reasons, so the two things don't become associated with one another. I hope that helps! :o)

Pk Hrezo said...

Hi, fellow crusader. I'm not using a pen name, unless, I deviate from my typical genres, like say, write some erotica or something. Then, I'd definitely use a pen name. Kind of like Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaire

Talli Roland said...

Interesting question! I wouldn't be using a pen-name unless I already wrote non-fiction under my real name. But, now that I do have a pen name, I find it very freeing. Still if I had a choice, I'd probably use my real name.

LindyLouMac said...

If I was writing a novel I would want to publish it in my own name, no point otherwise.

Len Lambert said...

Thank you everyone! :) I am still torn but I really appreciate all of you taking the time to tell me your thoughts on this subject. In the meantime, I've used LP Lambert twice already - both in short stories. I think it's a good idea to stick to Len Lambert :)

Angela Scott said...

Angela Scott is my pen name. Angela is my first name (real). Scott is my husband's first name. My married last name blows chunks. I told my husband this. But really that's not my reasoning for the pen name. Because of my religious background, there is a lot of stigma attached to writers who write outside our religious market. I don't write anything horrible, per se, but people in my church will look at me strangely if they knew my characters had sex out of wedlock or they cussed. Things like that. I'm not a religious writer. Never will be. But I am religious. (I'm a good gal even if my characters aren't).
That's a big reason why I chose the pen name. The second, my married name just isn't cool. And I want to be cool.

Claire Gregory said...

Hi Len! I'm one of your Crusade Group 12 buddies, just popping in to say hi :) I use a pen name, and I chose it when I started writing a blog- the aim is to build my platform in this name so it's recognisable by the time I get published. But I really like your name- unnerving though it is that you share it with my (male) antagonist :)