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Friday Coffee & Bookish Speak – That’s My Pen Name!

Keeping it simple with my small batch roasted coffee and cream.

What are you drinking?

I have a funny story. I used to run a poetry reading in the Portland/Metro area. It was a small crowd so I usually knew who was who. I called up a name that I didn’t know and mentioned they must be new to the open mic. All of a sudden this woman who I knew by another name shouts across the room “That’s my pen name” Me being surprised and a little taken aback by this ladies abruptness I just took it in stride.As the reading series went on I would come to find this woman had a never-ending supply of  pen names. To this day I can hear that woman yelling across the room like big bertha…  What’s in a pen name? Why is it so important to some people?

What’s in a pen name? Why is it so important to some people? I was reminded of this today as I was doing a review for the blog. I was looking up an author’s profile when the profile stated it was a pseudonym and directed me to the author’s original name. This author like the one from my poetry days past seemed to use their pen names as a way to separate genres or categories.

I found out recently even Stephen King has pen names. Authors sometimes end up with contracts with two different companies and have to take a pen name. So they have their place. My concern with pen names is people use them to hide behind what they don’t have the guts to reveal under their own identity.

What is your experience with pen names?

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Kristin July 1, 2016, 7:09 am

    I’ll be honest, I get frustrated when an author has multiple pen names. I usually rarely ever find out about them unless it’s written on the book, which is just weird anyways. If the author writes under the name “Jennie Smith” when she writes contemporary, why does that book say, “Sam Wright writing as Jennie Smith”? There are so many books I’ve passed up on because I didn’t know the author and was unsure whether I’d like the book or not, only to find out it was one of my favorite authors writing under a different name. The only time I understand pen names is when an author starts off with one from the get-go in order for privacy reasons.
    Kristin recently posted…Review: The Master by Kresley ColeMy Profile

  • Cait @ Paper Fury July 10, 2016, 3:41 am

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable and fine to use a pen-name. :) Sometimes it helps separate you from your work too? Like I use my actual name online (well, my nickname) but I got a LOT of blog-hate last year and I wished I’d had a pen name just so I could separate myself from that, you know? It’s a good way to keep private/public lives separate, even if it doesn’t seem big! And also it does make sort of sense for authors to separate their genre changes, I think. XD Especially if you’re like writing steamy adult romance vs middle grade or something!

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…10 Things Book Bloggers Should Not Be Worrying AboutMy Profile

    • Jessica July 11, 2016, 9:23 pm

      Ha ha ha! Good point… Don’t want those middle graders running into your erotica. That would be awkward. Thanks for stopping by.

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