Hidden Hassles of Pen Names


Dear Haley…

This isn’t a simple name recognition issue. Yes, use a pen name if readers will be negatively impacted by knowledge of your books in other categories or genres (as with kidlit authors pubbing romance). The risk of losing out on positive name recognition in one category if the other does well isn’t big since such audiences won’t likely cross over in big numbers anyway. But think beyond that: You’ll be managing 2 professional personas. Will you need 2 websites? 2 blogs? 2 Twitter, Facebook, Google+ accounts? How will you handle 2 personas at your events? Your promo is mostly on you—can you build reputations for 2 “people” and maintain/promote them forevermore. If risk management isn’t an issue, stick with one name and make your life a whole lot easier.

Happy writing!
The Editor


    • Thanks, Sue. It was fun to read why the writers in your blog article made the pen name choices they did—and to learn about a few more things to consider with this issue.

    • Just a few years ago, the online self-promo aspect wasn’t a key factor (or one at all!), but now it’s definitely got to be considered along with all the other pros and cons.

  1. Although I have’t published a book yet, I’ve sold many short stories under two different pen names. I intended to come up with a third or fourth for different genre novels, but now I’m reconsidering due to this post. Thanks for bringing the pros and cons to my attentions.

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