Have you ever wondered why do authors use pen names?
There are a number of reasons why an author might choose to use a pseudonym, and in this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common ones.
Some authors do it to protect their privacy, while others may feel that their real name is not well-known enough or does not sound “professional.”
Whatever the reason, there are many famous authors who have used pen names throughout history.
In this post, we will take a look at some of them and find out why they made the switch.
What Are Pen Names?
A pseudonym, or pen name, is a name that an author uses instead of their real name. It can be their actual given name, or it can be a completely different name altogether.
Pen names are most commonly used by authors who want to protect their privacy or who want to write in different genres than they are known for.
When an author uses a pen name, they are essentially creating a new identity for themselves.
How Do Pen Names Work?
By using a pen name, an author is effectively reinventing oneself in the process of publishing their work. The ability to experiment with other genres or styles of writing without having to worry about how their existing followers would react can be a useful tool for authors.
The practice can also be used to protect authors from public criticism or to avoid being linked with a certain genre or style of work that they don’t want their name to become associated with.
Using a pen name is a common practice among authors whose real names are not well-known or do not sound “professional.”
To give an example, the author J.K. Rowling wrote her criminal novels under the pen name “Robert Galbraith” because she felt that her real name was too strongly associated with children’s books and she wanted to avoid that association.
Why Do Authors Use Pen Names?
There are a number of reasons why an author might choose to use a pseudonym. Some of the most common ones are:
- To protect their privacy: An author may choose to use a pen name in order to keep their personal life private. This is especially common for authors who write autobiographies or memoirs.
- To write in different genres: An author may feel that their real name is not well-known enough or does not sound “professional” enough to be associated with a certain genre. For example, J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series under the pen name “Robert Galbraith.”
- To avoid confusion with other authors: An author may choose to use a pen name in order to avoid confusion with other authors who have the same name.
- To receive more attention: An author may choose to use a pen name in order to receive more attention from readers or the media. This is especially common for authors who are not well-known.
- They can’t publish under their real name: An author may choose to use a pen name if they are not able to publish their work under their real name. This was especially true for female authors dating all the way back to the eighteenth century (and before), who were unable to publish due to their gender. They created alter personalities and pen names in order to write anything they pleased while concealing their true identities.
How To Use A Pen Name
If you want to write or publish under a different name, you can execute the steps outlined below:
- Locate and claim a person’s identity. Select a name that is not the same as the name of a well-known person or public figure in order to avoid confusion. Conduct a trademark check on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to confirm that you are not infringing on any existing trademarks, and register a domain name that people will be able to associate with your alias quickly. To have payments made to your pseudonymous identity, you must file a Statement of Fictitious Business Name with the Internal Revenue Service.
- Make use of the title of the works that you have chosen. Include it on the front and back covers of your publications, as well as a copyright notice, to avoid confusion. Make use of it in the same way as you would your legal name if necessary.
- Notify the publisher of your decision. You may prefer to remain anonymous in order to protect the privacy of your readers; but, this is unlikely to be achievable with those who publish your book or work (unless you self-publish).
- Incorporate the work into your plan. Register it under a pseudonym, your own name, or both; nevertheless, regardless of which option you select, make sure that the work is registered to you in order to ensure that it is protected by intellectual property rights.
Famous Authors Who Used Pen Names
Many famous authors have used pen names throughout history. Some of the most well-known ones are:
- George Orwell: Author of “Animal Farm” and “1984.” His real name was Eric Arthur Blair.
- Mark Twain: Author of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” His real name was Samuel Clemens.
- Lewis Carroll: Author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass.” His real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.
- J.K. Rowling: Author of the Harry Potter series. Her pen name is Robert Galbraith.
- Stephen King: Author of “The Shining” and “It.” His real name is Stephen Edwin King.
- Nora Roberts: Author of the Bride Quartet series. Her pen name is J.D. Robb.
As you can see, there are many reasons why an author might choose to use a pseudonym.
If you are thinking about using a pen name yourself, make sure to follow the steps outlined in this article so that you can protect your identity and intellectual property rights.
A pen name is a pseudonym (or alias) that an author uses instead of their legal name.
As a writer, you may want to keep your real name hidden, write in a different genre or get more attention from readers and the media. You can use a pen name for any of these reasons.
This can be a great way for an author to protect their privacy or to write in a different genre. If you are thinking about using a pen name, make sure to follow the steps outlined in this article so that you can do it safely and legally. Thanks for reading!