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Why use a Pen Name?

I recently read an article on Huffington Post about several famous writers and why they used pseudonyms or pen names. They included Mark Twain, Lewis Carol, and others. Some of them used a pen name to cover up their past or to maintain anonymity.

More authors than we realize write under at least two names, if not more. They choose names for different genre or for the distinction between their nonfiction and fiction books. It can assist readers by not thinking the author only writes one kind of book. For instance, someone who writes business and leadership books may use their real name for those books. They also write romance novels and use a pen name for those.

I’ve ghostwritten quite a few books and of course those came out under the clients name. When you contemplate whether or not you want to use a pen name, consider your reasons. Are they personal? Your picture may not appear on book jackets, if that matters to you. Do you want to remain one of the crowd or do you want name recognition? In some cases you can enjoy anonymity and name recognition all at the same time like the business writer with a great reputation in the professional sector who writes romance without anyone know who he or she really is.

Your choice could be as simple as not liking your own name or thinking it doesn’t sound literary. Think about it. How do you invent another name? Do you wish your first name was something else? You could use your middle name for your first name and pick a last name from your family tree or someone you admire. Have fun with it.

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Mark Twain Celebration and Editorial Writing Workshop

Some of you may know that my husband, Greg Sagan, is an editorial writer who has hundreds of opinion pieces to his credit and has a weekly column on Tuesdays in the Amarillo Globe News both paper and online. If you’re going to be in the area during February, then you’ll want to note his class on writing editorials and opinion pieces in conjunction with a look at Mark Twain’s writing.

Sponsored by the Amarillo YMCA and Amarillo Public Library, this free class will meet each Tuesday night in February at the East Branch Library, 6:30 – 8:00. Greg is a professional business consultant and group facilitator with years of experience. His approach is interactive, motivating, and fun.