Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Pen Name Question

As I'm preparing several pieces to submit to different journals for summer freelancing, I'm faced with a question. I've always been planning to publish my novels under a pen name, simply so if on the off chance they become popular and I have a few nutty fans it will be harder for them to find me and kill me. And because I've always wanted a new name.
However, these magazine articles fall under journalism, which I've already started doing on a college level under my own name. So, should all my journalistic pursuits happen in my real name and all future novel publishing occur under the pen name. Or, should all professional publishing happen under my pen name?
Any advice or opinions?


  1. I prefer a pen name too, for the same reasons! :)

    There are authors who have different pen names for different pursuits. For instance, I read about someone who has a different pen name depending on the genre. If you think of a name as a product (of sorts), and that it gives you a certain image, then it makes sense to have different ones. Would you want to read a romance novel written by Kafka? Would you really trust a historical drama about the Black Death not to have magic in it if it was written by J.K. Rowling? And so on. It doesn't mean Kafka couldn't write romance or that JK couldn't write books without wizards, but it's about audience perception.

    Not that you'd strictly need to separate journalist you and novelist you unless you absolutely wanted to, of course, but that could be a reason for doing it.

  2. I'd always planned to use my first and middle name as a name if I published. That way I avoid the crazy stalkers, and also if I felt like getting married/changing my name later in life I wouldn't mess anything up.

  3. Thanks for the thoughful responses.
    I think I am going to keep my fiction name separate from my journalis.
    I sent off an article today actually, I hope to hear back next week.