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Pen name or real name, that is the question

Using a pseudonym or a pen name has been a decision authors have had to make for centuries. There are pros and cons to each:

Real Names:

Pros–

Easy to remember–I once read an interview with Sally MacKenize the author of the Naked Nobility Series where she said she was so excited when the editor at Kensington Zebra called her and told her that they were buying her book that when asked what name she wanted to use, she was too excited to think and told them Sally MacKenzie, which is her actual name. She said later it was just as well because at least it was one less thing she had to remember. (And believe me, after spending some time at writers’ and readers’ conferences, there are several authors who you can call them their “names” and they just keep walking by. It’s not to be rude, it’s just not something they recognize. More on this at the bottom.)

There’s no copyright or identity tangles–It’s hard to prove that Jane Smith and Juanita Burrita are the same person. Especially when Juanita is fictitious. For example, my publisher always calls me Rose Gordon. It’s on all of the papers I’ve had to sign. It was even on my royalty check. Thankfully my proving that I am Rose Gordon wasn’t difficult, however, I have a friend who had a royalty check made out the same way and she had to ask them to reissue it because no matter how much arguing she did, she couldn’t get the bank to deposit a check for Juanita Burrita into her (Jane Smith’s) account.

Cons–

That’s your real name!–Think about it, if you make it huge and become a household name, you can’t escape it. There are times when I just want to be plain old Jane Smith, not Juanita Burrita. Using your real name, that’s not possible. Even if you don’t become a big name, if even just one person in your world of friends knows, they might as well all know.

Pen Names:

Pros–

Concealed identity–Just as being unable to be just plain Jane Smith is a con for real name, being able to distance yourself and be just Jane Smith is a pro for a pen name. If you have friends and/or family who you might not want to know what you do, this works great to keep your identity concealed.

Distance–Being one identity in your work helps put distance between you as a person and you as an author. One of my greatest examples of this is think about being criticized publicly. Think about this:

Juanita Burrita is the WORST writer ever!!!!  If [big name author who’s been dead nearly 2 centuries] were to read this, it’d kill him/her. Dead on. Seriously, my fourth grader could have written this story better than she did. Which is a pity because the characters were good, but God should have intervened and given them to an author with actual talent. It was pure rubbish and as a public service to the world, Juanita should have every single one of her fingers broken–slowly–to keep this drivel in this “author’s” head where it belongs and not polluting Kindles across the world.

Now think about the same paragraph, but instead of seeing Juanita Burrita, imagine it’s YOUR name:

[Your first and last name] is the WORST writer ever!!!!  If [big name author who’s been dead nearly 2 centuries] were to read this, it’d kill him/her. Dead on. Seriously, my fourth grader could have written this story better than she did. Which is a pity because the characters were good, but God should have intervened and given them to an author with actual talent. It was pure rubbish and as a public service to the world, [Your first name] should have every single one of her fingers broken–slowly–to keep this drivel in this “author’s” head where it belongs and not polluting Kindles across the world.

This might not have the same effect since you haven’t written anything to have it criticized like that, but I’ll tell you from experience, when the name being used and titled as the “worst writer ever” isn’t really YOUR name, it’s much easier to take because it’s easier to chalk it up to the fact that they’re criticizing Juanita Burrita, not you.

Crossing Genres–Believe it or not, there are some inspirational romance writers who also write erotica. Just like there are some sci-fi writers who also write YA. To effectively do this, you MUST use a pen name. Otherwise, your audience will be extremely confused if they saw the name Jane Smith, who they usually associate with sweet Regencies, on a BDSM bestseller. Those who love Jane Smith and her gentle romance are going to be in for a very rude awakening on the third page of something that should be claimed as Juanita Burrita’s masterpiece. Likewise, someone expecting erotica will be very bored and unhappy reading something so mild.

Cons–

Remembering your own dang name–When the time comes to sign a book at a public signing, you only have one chance to sign the right name–unless you have a huge stack of books close at hand you can swap out. Remembering the name you need to be signing or responding to when someone calls you by a name that isn’t your own is actually rather tough.

Feeling “shortchanged”–There is something to be said about holding your first paperback book that has YOUR name on it or looking at the bestsellers charts and seeing your name listed. Though the criticism stings a lot more with it being your own name used, it sure feels good to see the success attached to your name. Using a pen name does separate you and it’s not really YOUR name by that top book or by that highly praised book.

As you can see, all the pros for one are cons for the others and cons for ones are pros for the others.

So how do you decide?

You have to decide which pros outweigh which cons. But also think about: Do you like your name? Does it sound like a good name for the genre you’re writing? Those are very important questions and believe it or not, names play a very significant role in a book’s appeal (I had no idea until later…).

What about me?

I get this a lot. Is Rose Gordon your real name. Yes, yes it is. In a matter of speaking, anyway. When I first started, I didn’t know what name to use instead so went with my middle and last because my first is too long to look good on a book cover and often misspelled. If I could go back, I might have picked something different, or I might not have. I don’t really know. I do remember typing it into google to see what came up: nada, except a lot of stuff about rose gardens. So I went with it and I have no idea if that worked in my favor or not, though. Here’s why:

  • I’ve been told by no less than a dozen people they bought the first book they read by me based solely on liking my name.
  • There is now a politician named Rose Gordon Sala who shows up in my Google Alerts every day.
  • I thought it was a simple, memorable name, therefore, hard to misspell, but I get Gorden and Gordan a lot.
  • I still get startled at being called Rose in public–by strangers. I’ve had a few friends over the years who’ve called me Rose or some variation, or combined my first and middle names (and I even wanted to go by Rose in college–this was very short lived), but seeing it in writing and actually hearing it are two very different things.
  • And my favorite thing involving my name during the past year came in an email I received in early June:

A friend of mine sent me a note saying she had an ebook waiting for me…when I logged on to retrieve it, I learned it was a [Censored]. Disappointed, (because I gave her titles of your books that I hadn’t read yet), I told her I wanted one by you. Her reply to me: “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a Rose Gordon.”

Yep, it took 16 months but it finally happened! I was likened to a rose garden. Of course I wrote her back about her friend’s clever (and humorous) play on words and was delighted to make a new friend who made many plays on words herself.

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57 thoughts on “Pen name or real name, that is the question

  1. I’m going through this right now. My books are not ready to publish, but when they are I need to know these things. My name (first anyway) is not all that common, but I can’t decide if I should use it or not. I’ve thought about all the things on that list of yours except the signing and responding part. That’s something I’ll have to factor in. I do write in several different genre’s, but I think I have gotten a better handle on what my main genre might be, which seems to be contemporary sci-fi or maybe it’s contemporary fantasy. I’m having fun trying to figure out where exactly my stories fit there.

    I did have it happen once that I got a check addressed to my mother mixed in with checks addressed to me once. It was supposed to be addressed to me so we didn’t notice until I had already signed the back and handed it over to the bank. No problem. My mom’s first name happens to be my middle name and I signed all three names on the back, so although it certainly wasn’t my mom’s signature on the back it was the two names listed on the front. They just happened to have an additional name tacked onto the front.

    I think it’s cool that you use your middle name. My middle name (unlike my first) is rather common, but I do know an adorable little three-year-old that shares your middle name. I call her my Rosie Girl. Sometimes I still call her by her first name, but it’s my own special name for my niece.

    It made me smile to see you use the example of Sally MacKenzie as an author who uses her real name. She’s another of my favorite authors (yes, in the short time since I discovers your books you have been added to that list).

    I have been enjoying this series on writing of yours. It has given me a lot to think about and will no doubt give me a lot more to think about in the future. Every bit helps as I am deturmined to have something completed by the time I graduate (my degree is totally unrelated to writing) in a year and a half.

    I do have at least one potential pseudonym in mind. It is based off some user names I use on forums. Will I use it? I don’t know. Time will tell I guess. In the mean time, thanks for giving me something to think about.

    • Finally Malena, I’m coming back to your original comment!

      One great thing going on right now is cross-genres so technically your book could fit into both contemporary sci-fi and fantasy. Never rule anything out.

      I think part of the problem with responding when being called by your pen name is the audio recognition. Sure, I can look at my book and see Rose, and know it’s me and I can even open an email that’s addressed to Rose, reply and sign it Rose, but when I hear someone call me that, it goes right past me. I was at RT in April and all of my friends kept calling me Rose and I swear every time they did, I jumped a looked around to see who in the heck they were talking to. They probably all walked away whispering about me being psychotic because of this.

      I did the same with the check. Since it’s my middle and last name, I just signed my full name and gave them my driver’s license and had no problems. But I can imagine that it would have been far more difficult with a pen name.

      My first name is common—and commonly misspelled/mispronounced. It’s not exotic, it is just a plain jane name, but for some reason is extremely difficult for people to remember which variation is mine. LOL

      I’ve read four of Sally MacKenzie’s books: Duke, Marquis, Earl and Baron. My favorite was about the marquis.I actually own two others from that series but haven’t had time to read them. Yet. Anyway, a few years ago, I was still querying agents and one I was thinking to query represented her, that’s where I saw that interview. I don’t remember much else from it, but I remembered that because at the time I was thinking of what name to use.

      I’m glad you consider me a favorite, that is rare among other writers as I “step outside” of the box a lot. However, I’d have never been so forward as to ask if I was a favorite of yours. But thanks for letting me know!

      Just keep working at it. A year and a half is plenty of time to finish the book without it being forced. It’s also plenty of time to decide what to do. I’m thrilled my posts have been helpful.

      • More books to look for. I have seen Sally’s books in the barnes and noble shop but now I will have to see if I can find them at the digital library.
        You also have me so curious about your first name. It’s common, often mispelled and mispronounced. This may keep me up all night.

      • Good. Like Benjamin, I want something about me to remain a mystery…

        If you have a secondhand book store, you could get them there. My library is weird about things and generally only orders one or two books in a series. So you could try looking there, too, but if they’re like my library, you might not find them all.

      • This is keeping me up as well. Janet? Jeanette? Joanne? JoAnne? Joann? Kristine? Christine? jaclyn? jaqueline? Elenore? Eleanore? Lia? Leah? Rachel? Rachael? Raechel? Susan? Suzanne? Susanne? AAAAARRRGHHHH!!!

      • My name on the other hand is uncommon (unless you watch a certain soap opera or are a fan of a certain 1920s actress), frequently misspelled (four seperate misspellings in my freshman yearbook for high school, and not spelled the same as the above mentioned actress), and even more frequently mispronounced (when is an “e” pronounced like and “a”? In my name, that’s when.)

        I fail to see how Rumplestiltskin is a common name however. 😉

        Mispronounced? I had a teacher in college whose wife’s name was Miss Joanna. That’s Joan*na, kind of like Jonah. She said she always knew if the person on the other end of the phone knew her or not. If they didn’t they were way off.

        Thing is I can come up with plenty that are misspelled and plenty that are mispronounced, but not so many that are both. My middle name is the last name of a famous author . . . If you add an “l” to the end of it. Both of my sisters have middle names that can be spelled with “z”s or “s”s (both use “z”), but none of those get mispronounced.

        I know a bunch of spellings for Kristal (my favorite spelling which I used for everything I named for a period of time) Crystal, Krystal, etc. There’s Anne vs. Ann vs. An but how could you possibly mispronounce that one?

        Michelle vs. Michel vs.other things I’d have to look up.

        Oh! I got one! Alicia vs. Alesha vs. other spellings I’d have to look up. I know an Alicia whose name is pronounced a*lee*see*a. Not that it’s likely it’s your name (mostly because what are the odds), but at least it fits all criteria for it.

      • You sure gave this a lot of thought.

        My college algebra teacher’s name was Joan, pronounced Jo*Ann. I also worked somewhere and had someone turn in an application with the word vagina written in the name area. I wasn’t sure if it she’d written that as a joke or what, so I just called her Ms. Lastname and tried to force her to say her name. As it turns out, her name is pronounced like Regina, just with a V.

        In my experience, girl names are difficult because there are so many varied spellings. Guys all pretty much stick to the mainstream spelling. Girls like to be “unique”. I’ve spent the last almost seven years teaching Bible class up at my church and make it a habit to ask girls to spell their names before I write it on anything.

        By the way, I like Michael pronounced Ma-kel for a girl.

      • Marlena, I used to watch that soap during my soapaholic days. I am loving all your guesses, by the way. I am glad I am not the only one thinking about this.
        My best friend from high school is named Gina pronounced Jinna. We used to tell people that pronouncing it the other way was wrong because if you take the A off her name you say Jin. Of course I always thought her parents were strange for doing that to her. People often leave the H off of my name, but a couple years ago I made a friend named Sara but she pronounced it with a short A sound. I guess it’s just a parents prerogative on how they want the name pronounced.

        Rose, I was the same way when I did check in for Kids church. I always asked them to spell it for me because you never knew how it might have been spelled, not just girls.

      • I thought I gave my kids easy names, but they went through a phase — all at the same time — when they didn’t like the spellings. Jennifer changed hers to Jhennuhphyrrh (phyrrh as in myrrh) and her knickname to Jhe Knee; Jimmy changed his to G. Me., and Jacky to Jakk E. Eventually they went back to the original spellings, but Jennifer kept shortened name as Jhen, who married a Jon. Jhen with an H and Jon without. So confusing at family gift exchanges…

        Mz. Rose, I bet we already mentioned your plain jane name (could it be Jayne?) but you wouldn’t tell us if we did…so I’ll stick with Rumplestiltskin.

        So, did anyone ever call you Rump Rose?

      • I grew up being called by a nickname that starts with the same letter as my real name and has a total of four letters in common. That’s the end of the similarity. Anyway, I hated it. Absolutely hated it and still bristle when someone calls me by it. So for me, when I moved across the country in the middle of high school, I was able to “start fresh” with my real first name. So in a way, I went through one of those phases, too. Except I was fifteen–unless you want to include that year in middle school when I begged my mom to let me legally change my name to Wendy.

      • Rump Rose or Rump Roast? If you have a brother that would certainly be the latter.
        Rondeigh, that is funny about your children. Especially your Jennifer. I tried to shorten my name to Saire like Claire but that didn’t go over too well. I had a little girl I babysat for call me Saree but other than that there isn’t much you can do with Sarah. I have ten year old twins named Matthew and Jonathan and they are autistic and do not like to have their names shortened. Which is fine with me because I like the names the way they are but when they were born people said their names were too long to go with our last name and I said when they got older they could shorten them if they wanted to but thankfully they don’t. My husband does call Jonathan, Jonny, much to my chagrin. My seven year old, Luke, started calling him that when he was younger because he couldn’t say Jonathan. So they were Jonny and Battyu.

      • I really need to back paddle here since you guys can’t let this go. LOL

        My first name IS common. But, when I say it’s commonly misspelled or mispronounced, it’s not that my actual name is mispronounced–it’s that I’m called by an entirely different name or someone will write the wrong name/spelling because if you change one letter, it can be a different name. Kind of like Sandra and Sondra. Linda and Lindy. Cherrie and Cherie. Krista and Kristja. Kristen and Kirsten. etc etc

      • Ah nicknames. As a girl I had none. I tried. I really did. Lenamar caught on about fifteen years after I tried to use it. I don’t think the sister who calls me that knows I tried to use that when I was younger. It was a short period off time and she’s eight years younger then me. She now calls me Lene (pronounced Lane). I call her J at times. One of my managers at work calls me Margie. He renames everyone, so no big surprise there. Another manager (former now) calls me Marsupial. I let her, but no one else. I call me niece (as previously mentioned) my Rosie Girl.

        I also tried to give myself another nickname, but The Mar Car Har didn’t even catch on when I posted it on my bedroom door.

      • I have a friend who calls me Joey because everybody at church used to get my name wrong. So to be funny, he started calling me Joey and I called him Hercama.

        Sorry your nicknames didn’t stick. Had we gone to school together, I’d have gladly traded. *grins*

      • It’s okay. I no longer really want nicknames. I figure nicknames are more fun if they are fewer and unique to the person calling you by them. Due to my online user names one online friend calls me Karsti (and occasionally Story or SG) even on the occasion when we have talked on the phone. Karsti is the short form of one of my character’s names.

        Joey, huh? That’s different for a girl.

      • Joey? You too, Rose? When I was a little girl, I used to want to be a boy like my uncles and male cousins, so I figured if I peed standing up, I’d be a boy, so I copied them. I would pee standing up on a flower pot, in the toilet, in the chamber pot… one day my favorite uncle saw me peeing standing up on the side of my grandma’s house. He asked me why I was peeing standing up, (notice he didn’t ask why I was peeing on the side of my grandma’s house — in the early 60’s in the cheapside of Manila, this was a common thing) I told him it’s because I was now a boy. So he changed my name to Joey. I’m still Joey to him to this day.

      • Yeah, I think Joey was the first thing he could think of. A few months later, he forgot my fake name and called me Jill, but that was short-lived and he remembered Joey again. It was all a joke on how everyone else seemed to have forgotten my name and identity except him and his wife.

        Too funny about peeing standing up while trying to be a boy. That is hilarious.

    • And just how do you pronounce that name differently than it looks? Do you say Rumplay like it’s french? I just looked at that at started laughing. Not good, not good.
      As for the books my library has a 7 book bundle with 16 people on the wait list and they own 6 bundles. They only have 3 of the books available individually. I thought 16 people was bad but as I scrolled down I saw there are 58 people on the waiting list for her Bedding Lord Ned book although they do own 19 copies of it.
      I have noticed that they will carry the first two or three of the series and then that is it on some of the books, but for the most part they have had the whole series available on a lot of the ones I have read so far. Although, a couple of them were numbered incorrectly and I had to go to the author’s website to see the correct order. I was just so happy to be told about it and have been saving a lot of money and it’s good to be able to at least read one or two in the series to see if you even like it. Sometimes the sample chapter doesn’t give me enough to go on.

      • Ladies, I get all sorts of improper spelling and pronunciations) of my name:

        RumplestiltSTIN
        RumplestiltSTINE
        RumplestilsKINE (you know, like yarn)

        Even in general, Rumplestiltskin is hard to say for some anyway.

        My biggest complaint is being called Rumpus or Rumpy. I just hate it. My friends do it to be endearing, but frankly, it’s humiliating, and I think it should be obvious as to why!

        That’s why I have a free book. Sometimes the sample is just too short. That way, if they don’t like my writing style or storytelling ability, they can just move on without the feeling of being gipped because it didn’t cost them anything up front. What I don’t like is that it can lead to more pirating with subsequent books from people who don’t want to buy those, either.

  2. I frequently get asked if I am related to author Tom Clancy, of which I usually respond “I wish.” And I am quite fond of the name Rose, as it is also my daughter’s middle name! 🙂

  3. Tami must know your real name.

    Thanks for doing this post after all my begging and begging. No really, it was very informative and I didn’t even think about payment and my husband is a banker or even getting confused at signing your name. I had always planned to use my maiden name because it was already a popular writers last name, Christie. as in Agatha. Which I believe was not her real name. I always thought it was cool. In high school I answered to Sarah, Christie, Suzy and the occasional Laura because for some strange reason people thought I looked like a Laura. Suzy because my mom called me Suzy Q when I was younger and just kept calling me Suzy and it greatly confused my friends.
    It is hard to believe that someone could write inspirational romance and turn around and right erotica. I know it must be done but still hard to wrap my mind around.
    Again, thanks for all the info it certainly gives one lots to think about.

    • I’ve seen some who do that and use the same pen name (possibly their real one, I don’t know) for both. Talk about your double take. Usually it’s erotica first and then inspirational years later, but I have definitely seen it and it does make me a little weirded out. I’ve also seen titles “sanitized” so that they can be used for inspirational stories when previously they were anything else. Very strange.

      • Marlena, I saw your other post but answering with such detail on an iPhone is impossible. I’ll reply to your first message later when I have a full keyboard.

        But yes, there’s lots and lots of “sanitizing” as you put it (good word, by the way). I find it interesting you’ve noticed they write erotica first, then inspy. Everyone I know does it the other way around since inspirational (or inspy as many call it) is harder to sell than erotica. There are some who write main stream romance (with sex) first, then cut out the sex but leave in the kissing and hand hold, etc, and market it as YA, too. Often though they’ll keep the same name when doing this and call one version the normal and the other the YA or clean version. I don’t think there’s that big of a market for YA historicals so I haven’t bothered to do this, but I know two people who have tried it with one book.

      • Hmm. Maybe they were just main stream romances, although the inspirational versions were definately not YA. I know one who did that where I love the inspirational versions (it was a series), but have not touched the other . . . Why confuse myself? That author changed the titles I believe, but uses the same name as an author. She’s the main one I’ve seen do this, but not the only one. She just wrote more books before she changed genres.

        On the other part of your reply . . . Full keyboards are nice.

      • I agree, why confuse the reader. When making such a drastic change in genre, a new name is required. Yes, it makes it harder to get established at first, but in the end, it’s better for both the author and the reader.

    • You guessed it! Tami does know…

      There are lots of people who write two different genres like that. I was floored the first time my friend told me she had to remove the sex scenes from one book so she could see if it would sell as a sweet little inspy. She later added them back in when it didn’t sell to a publisher that way and it now sits on Amazon as an erotica title.

  4. The topic of writing to different types of romance brings up another question. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. But something I didn’t really think about for myself since I had always planned on going with Christian fiction/romance, but did using a “sort of” pen name for yourself have anything to do with writing sex scenes in your book and the fact that you seem to be pretty involved in your church? I remember reading the “adult entertainer” post that you wrote a while back and finding it funny but this has made me think that I am not sure that I would want my church family reading my books with sex scenes in them.

  5. The copyright and being paid thing would bother me the most. I never had trouble being paid under one of my pen names, but I have since removed the pen name and the books associated with it because of time constraints. But Smashwords did have an update where some people were having trouble getting paid due to something they were doing wrong with their social security number. I think they weren’t including the information in the correct place. But it did make me wonder if a pen name might make getting paid more difficult should a glitch pop up in the system.

  6. Now I’m not an author, nor do I ever plan to be one, unless I ever get around to writing a book on one of the many non-fiction, subjects I enjoy studying so pen names are not an issue for me. But I will tell you as a reader what I find frustrating with pen names is you can’t always find books by author’s who’s voice you like. I have one author I found in the Christian Romance market who I enjoy. And in the back of the book it says she has written over 20 books under different pen names. But I cannot find out for the life of me what those pen names are so that I can read her back listed books.

    • It doesn’t say on her website? Or does she not have one? I know many authors who have all their books regardless of name they are published under on the same site . . . Or else they link to other sites with their other pen names. I used to have a rather long list of information about various authors, their websites, their emails if they shared an email for their fans, stuff like that. Maybe I have them on my list.

    • It depends on what the pen names write. There are some genres that are so far apart from each other that the author will piss off her readers if they knew she was writing “that type of book”. I think a few authors don’t want to upset current fans, so they keep their pen names a secret. (Case in point, a children’s writer known for her cuddly detective stories featuring a dog goes under a pen name to write erotica. She doesn’t dare tell her children story fans about it. I know because I contacted her about her romance for the adult group, and she told me but I have kept it a secret as she wished.)

      • True. That would be a situation where they might want to not let it be known. But still if there is a way to contact the author she’s interested in, maybe she could contact them and see if they would point her in the right direction. Maybe they wouldn’t, but it’s probably worth a shot.

      • Once again, a great suggestion. A personal email to express like and ask for the information will likely gain you far better results. Thanks for chiming in again, Marlena!

      • Exactly. It’s like those who write mainstream and Christian romances.

        Their mainstream audience might not mind that they write Christian, but I’ve heard, there are a lot of inspirational romance readers who boycott authors inspirational authors who write mainstream with sex or coarser words or anything they feel is unChristianlike.

    • Switching a series and doing this isn’t the best idea, but switching genres it’s accepted and actually expected.

      However, like others have said, there are these invisible lines drawn that make it to an author’s disadvantage to publicly announce all of their pen names since those who love this kind of book might not ever read her work again if they know she writes this other kind of book.

  7. In my classroom, to signify the beginning of silent reading time, I have this routine of drawing an open book on the board, then I write a made-up title, and then I make up a pseudonym for the author. Next I write a brief description, usually one or two sentences, on the back cover. One of the things the students get to do when they’re “done with everything” is to write a story for that day’s title. Usually by the end of the first trimester, the students begin to volunteer to create the their own titles with their own with their own invented pseudonyms, and then they write their own stories. Some examples:

    Living in Obscurity by Noah Nyoo Noh
    I Am Really Famous by Sam Wah Nyoo Noh
    How to Fake Anything by Ayama Phrod
    Buying a New Car by Ken Taffor Dit
    Remind Your Teacher It’s Library Day by Sheefer Ghetts
    Procrastinators Unlimited by Justin Dennick O’Thyme
    How to Drive Your Teacher Bonkers by Shiyo Reddee Yizz

    Eventually they come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what you call yourself; as long as you know it’s YOUR story, you can’t help the pride in ownership.

    Oh, and on Facebook, my friends tend to “like” and/or respond to a status update more if I put it in quotes and put my pseudonym after it than if I just wrote it myself. Of course, they don’t know that I am quoting myself…

    • I love these! I read them to my husband yesterday on our way to the city and he thought they were very clever, too!

      My favorite was the Procrastinators Unlimited one. LOL (I’m sure you being a teacher have a partiality to the driving your teacher bonkers one).

      Also, great tip on the Facebook quotes, I’ll have to try it.

      Have you ever played MadGab? I think you’d really like it. It’s a word game where they give you 5-8 different words and when you read them a certain way, it says a popular phrase or word. Much like you made, but it’s actually a game. I have a feeling you’d always win.

    • lol nobody will play madgab with me anymore :-). i even created a christmas madgab for our staff party…sorry for the lack of caps…typing with one hand while feeding grandson with the other…

      • The key is you have to let someone else win sometimes. I know I have to purposely lose at games every now and then to keep people playing with me.

        Very creative to come up with your own Christmas version!

  8. In my classroom, to signify the beginning of silent reading time, I have this routine of drawing an open book on the board, then I write a made-up title, and then I make up a pseudonym for the author. Next I write a brief description, usually one or two sentences, on the back cover. One of the things the students get to do when they’re “done with everything” is to write a story for that day’s title. Usually by the end of the first trimester, the students begin to volunteer to create the their own titles with their own invented pseudonyms, and then they write their own stories. Some examples:

    Living in Obscurity by Noah Nyoo Noh
    I Am Really Famous by Sam Wah Nyoo Noh
    How to Fake Anything by Ayama Phrod
    Buying a New Car by Ken Taffor Dit
    Remind Your Teacher It’s Library Day by Sheefer Ghetts
    Procrastinators Unlimited by Justin Dennick O’Thyme
    How to Drive Your Teacher Bonkers by Shiyo Reddee Yizz

    Eventually they come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what you call yourself; as long as you know it’s YOUR story, you can’t help the pride in ownership.

    Oh, and on Facebook, my friends tend to “like” and/or respond to a status update more if I put it in quotes and put my pseudonym after it than if I just wrote it myself. Of course, they don’t know that I am quoting myself…

  9. I read through your comments and LMAO.

    The best reasons I know for using a pen name is to hide your identity. Like the school teacher that was ratted out as an erotica writer recently and lost her job because parents weren’t comfortable having an erotica writer teach their kids. Sometimes it’s just safer to use a pen name.

    And because you’re writing vastly different genres. If you write YA or children’s books you might want a different name for a serial killer fiction. Some genre’s can be grouped under the same name without that problem. YA and children’s books. Regencies and Westerns. Fantasy and Paranormal, sometimes Sci-Fi. Horror and Thriller. Romance and Erotic Romance.

    re @ using a pen name and being paid, most of those problems come from people not putting the correct info in the account section. Unless they have a DBA account with their Bank they need to put their real name and bank/PayPal information there.

    • Glad you liked the comments. They are always far more entertaining than my original post.

      I agree about hiding identity and a huge change in genres. Those are my two biggest reasons for a pen name.

      It’s funny you mention not filling out paperwork correctly. I have no problems being paid for my ebooks at any platform I sell them at because I created all of those accounts under my business name. However, though my legal name is on my print contract, I still get checks made out to Rose Gordon. Which, isn’t a problem for me personally, but I laugh every time one of my friends gets paid under her pen name, though her legal name IS on her contracts as well. In this situation, I think the error is on the other end, but I know exactly what you’re saying and before the first time I was paid from SW, Amazon, B&N or Apple I checked probably a dozen times to make sure they had the right info. LOL I’m weird like that.

      • LOL Then we’re both weird. I know that I checked all my account information over and over and over again to make sure it was right. I haven’t created a business name so I have to make sure they pay me under my real name even though I use pen names because getting a check reissued is a pain. 😀

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