Pen names

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Gail Allen
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Pen names

Post by Gail Allen » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:16 am

Several authors throughout time have chosen to write under pen names. Sometimes they are completely different from their own name: Robert Galbraith springs to mind. And sometimes they simply seek to hide certain aspects of the author's name: J. K. Rowling choosing not to immediately reveal herself as female by using only initials together with her last name springs to mind.

Do you know any other authors who wrote under pen names? And do you know why they did it? Do you think it's a good strategy to use or should authors rather write under their own names? Why or why not?

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Sky Alton
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Re: Pen names

Post by Sky Alton » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:40 pm

We've chatted about this several times on my writing degree. Most recently an author of YA said that doing a 'JK' is often advisable if you're a woman writing YA, fantasy or sci-fi because you're more likely to draw in young male readers by not instantly announcing your gender. This kind of harps back to the Bronte sisters and other writers of that time period who assumed male names simply to be published; interestingly, another approach taken was to publish without any name at all, as Frances Burney did with Evelina (she was an inspiration to Jane Austen).

I've thought about publishing with a pen name a lot and I probably will end up doing so as for some reason, though my RL name is straightforward, people still end up mispronouncing it all the time. ;)
"Does the Walker choose the path or the path the walker?" -Garth Nix
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