music playing: Shakira, “Underneath Your Clothes”
Every so often as I peruse writing forums, I come across people worrying over the issue of pseudonyms. Now, I’m far from an authority on the publishing business. But one thing I can say with total confidence is that pseudonyms are not an issue.
So if you want to use one, stop worrying your little head over it. Really. Agents/editors don’t care. In query letters to magazines, I’ve always put something like, “TITLE, written under my PEN NAME, is WORD COUNT….”. And on the cover page have put:
Writing As: XXXX
When I’ve been lucky enough to be published, my pen name has appeared in the magazine. No questions asked. Editors/Agents are aware that some authors like to use pseudonyms. They don’t care if you are using one because, A: you worry about privacy B: you just want one for the hell of it, or C: you’re running from the law. (if it’s C, they definitely don’t want to know)
The only thing to think carefully over is the choosing of your nom de plume. If you become successful you’re going to be stuck with that name. So it’s probably not a good idea to use a fantasy name generator; or choosing one after gulping down several mint juleps.
Also, some authors like to use different pseudonyms for various genres. And Edward Gorey made a hobby out of forming anagrams of his name. My favorite: Ogdred Weary.
Famous pen names:
Samuel Clemens: Mark Twain
Charles Dodgson: Lewis Carroll
Pearl Gray: Zane Grey
Mary Ann Evans: George Elliot
What are some of your favorite famous pen names?