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.