What’s Your (Pen) Name?

Do you need a pen name?

I read a discussion a few months ago about the importance of having a pen name if you write across genres.

I read this and then let it fade away because I don’t write across genres. I write Southern Fiction. That’s how I identify myself – a Southern Fiction Writer.

Except, now I do write across genres.

And, I will employ a pen name. But, I don’t know anything about choosing a pen name.

Do you?

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you choose it?

photo credit: aur2899 via photo pin cc
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About melindamcguirewrites

The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. ------ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech, Stockholm, 1950
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11 Responses to What’s Your (Pen) Name?

  1. I have often thought of using a pen name as I do write in different genres. If the time comes, I have chosen my father’s two first names: John Vincent. I think he would have been proud to see his name in print.

  2. I have often thought about this when I gaze into the future. Right now I write historical fiction. But to me it seems like you are doing an injustice to your readers if you suddenly change genre on them. They are expecting historical fiction when you publish a science fiction novel. The trick to me would be how to connect the two together, because I believe a large part of your reader base like the way you write, and would therefore enjoy reading anything you wrote. Those are some of my thoughts I am working through, as I do believe that I will be writing science fiction in the future.

    Let us know what you come up with.

    • Hello Richard,
      Glad to see you here. My thinking on the pen name is I don’t want to have someone who is a fan of Josephine and/or Nelson and Cora pick up a murder mystery or organized crime novel by me and expect the same thing – which they would have every reason to if I am writing under my name.
      I have NO idea about the pen name. Still a work in progress 🙂

  3. Melinda, I’ve heard some other folks discussing this issue lately. I personally came to the conclusion that I would not want a pen name.

    The one big problem about using multiple names, is the fact that you will then have to double promotion efforts. Your name/image is your brand, so you will need to start over to build a following for the pen name as well. Will you be directing the new genre readers to new FB/Twitter/blog pages? If so, those things will be even more of a drain on your writing time.

    The truth is, I read across genre lines all the time. In fact, I believe most of us do. And you will probably be letting your fan base know about your new genre anyway, b/c they may love your writing enough to be curious about what else you have published. I wouldn’t want to tell you what to do, but if you are only concerned about reader confusion, you could make the genre clear on the cover. “A by Melinda McGuire”

    Just a thought… 🙂

  4. I write under DM Yates. It’s a credit to both my husband, my dad, and my family. DM are also my initials.

  5. Pingback: Does changing gears = a name change? | melindamcguirewrites

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