Friday, February 19, 2016

Pen Name and Its Purpose

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ever since a long time ago until now, many authors use pen name. In case you didn't know (which I doubt), pen name is basically a fake name created by author or whoever in the publisher. Eventhough I already know the term "pen name" since a long time ago, I still didn't exactly understand why authors use pen name. After I do some searching on Google, I got some reasons why authors use pen name :

1) To protect an author's identity
Just like some bloggers who use fake name to protect their identity, author do it too. Many people didn't want their friends or relatives to find out that they're writing a book. (This kinda confuse me, actually. I mean, if your book became famous, there's no way that people won't find out. Also, in almost every book, there will be author photo. So what's the point?)

2) Authors doesn't want their new book to be judged based on their previous books
I once read an article in my local newspaper about why J.K. Rowling decide to use a pen name for her newest books--because she didn't want to people to love or hate her new book just because they love or hate Harry Potter.

3) Authors want to write book in different genre
Many authors decide to use a pen name because they want to write a book in different genre. An example, Liz Czukas uses her real name for her YA books, while she uses Ellie Cahill for her NA books. (This make me wonder, wasn't this reason pointless if reader already know their name?)

4) There are multiple authors with the same name
This is probably the only reason that made sense to me. If there's already multiple authors with the same name, then the most logical things to do is to make a pen name.

Of course, there's also other reasons why author decide to use a pen name. But, one thing I'd like to point out is, I think pen name is kinda useless. I mean, since your publisher know about your pen name, it would be easily leaked (in fact, the one that leaked J.K.Rowling's pen name is her own lawyer). Pen name might be useful in the past, but in this century? Not really. Later or sooner, I think everyone will know your real name.

Let's Discuss!

What do you think pen name is for? Do you think it's useful? If you're a writer and plan to use pen name, could you tell me why?

*disclaimer : since I'm not a writer and I didn't do a lot of research for this post, I can't be 100% sure that those reasons are true. This is only what I thought is true.


  1. I’m not an author, but I know that some authors use different names for their adult books and children’s books. They don’t want a parent seeing the author’s name on a picture book and going, “That author writes smutty horror/thrillers, I’m not buying a book by that author for my kid.” The pen names help keep the author’s writing projects separate.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I'm not an author but I would use a pen name, it would be my alias and I find you wouldn't be judged you can have things kept to yourself without divulging too much. I have only read a few with pen names, or you never know it could be more and I find it to be a refreshing. But ultimately you shouldn't base the book on a authors name it's the story and the words at the end of the day. Great discussion post! :)

  3. You're right that in a lot of cases people discover who's behind a pen name anyway. In self-publishing it's a little easier to keep that sort of information private, though, so I can see why authors do it. Plus, it helps people know what to expect when authors write under different pen names for different genres.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  4. i would like to be an author and it's something that i would like to do. pen names are great for so many reasons. i know some authors who pick pen names because their name doesnt suit their genre (like if youre writing horror and your name looks like it right out of a romance novel).

  5. I've used a pen name before simply because it was meaningful and *cough cough* it made me feel sophisticated. xD I think there's a kind of magic to it, creating an alias like that.


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