Monday, January 29, 2024

Pen Name or Not?


Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

Do you use or have you considered using different pen names for different genres of your writing?


Pen names always seem like fun to me. Choosing a new version of yourself to go with your writing, so you have a tough guy name for that noir you're writing and something soft and flowery for the romance. Maybe my Gothic romance (when I finish it) could come from someone like Violet Nightshade, instead of the more mundane Samantha Bryant. It's a fun kind of branding. 

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But in this day and age, marketing means keeping up with social media for your work, and I find that overwhelming enough without managing several different version of myself. I can't imagine keeping up with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Bluesky, etc. for more than one of me. When would I actually write? 

I know some writers get around this by having their pen names be an open secret, like Gail Z. Martin writing as Morgan Brice or Ursula Vernon writing as T. Kingfisher (just to name couple from my circles), but I'm probably not a big enough fish for that, and I don't want to make it any harder for someone who enjoyed something I wrote to find the rest of it!

So, I've thought about it, but I think I'll stick to just being Samantha Bryant, regardless of what I'm writing. I'm plenty to handle. 

Do you use pen names in your work? Do you follow writers who do? 

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  1. You're right in that it makes more work regarding keeping up with social media sites. I hadn't thought of that 11 years ago when I started writing!

  2. Technically, I use a pen name since I don't use my married name and use my middle name and a nickname, but I keep it all under one umbrella. I tried having separate accounts at one point and it was annoying.

    1. ONE pen name, I could see. Just not a stream of them.

  3. I agree. Keeping track of more social media accounts than I already do would be nuts.

  4. In a way, it's nice to be someone else. Plausible denial is always an option.

  5. I like the anonymity of the pen name. Lela can say stuff that might get me written up by my employer. But also, a family member became unintentionally infamous about two decades ago and he's had people on his lawn trying to tell him what they think of him, so it's nice to avoid that.

  6. It seen like authors can not have a private life anymore while using a pen name.