Saturday, December 11, 2010

To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name

Should I write under a pen name or use my own?  I'm sure many an author have pondered that same question for one reason or another, but for me I wonder if it would improve or detract from much needed attention.

My own name seems a little boring to me only because it has been my name for 46 years now (alright, cat's out of the bag...I'm ancient).  I've asked a few people and they seem to think it's a fine name for an author.  Seems dignified, proper, and flows well according to them, but should I use my whole name or some shortened version or even a nickname?

Richard Hale
Rich Hale
Richard C Hale
Dick Hale
Dick C Hale
C Dick Hale
or just Sofaking

Using a unique pen name might be fun if I could find one, but why do some authors do this?  Are they trying to hide something or trying to remain anonymous?  Maybe they just want to write something a little different than what they are known for?  This last thing makes the most sense to me.  If you're known for writing horror and say, you want to write porn for a bit, you might need to come up with a pen name until you get it out of your system.  Something like Phil McCrackin of Heywood Jablome.  Something that would let you do whatever you wanted without the stigma of your past practices impeding progress.

If I were to pick a pen name I think I would like something that just sounded cool.  Something that almost sounded like you were a super-hero or something.  Jennings Jackson or Slate Steel or Broad Shoulders (?).  Alright, that last one was really lame, but you get the idea.  A cool handle to attract that oh so elusive book buyer.  Something to make me stand out in a crowd of mundane authors whose household names invoke a sense of wonder.  Let's look at this for a minute.  Put my name up against anyone's.  How about Stephen King's:

Stephen King or Richard Charles Hale

No Brainer.  Now how about:

Stephen King or Pouridge Livermore 


Stephen King or Jaeger Moansleeve


Stephen King or Cap E. Toll

Something to think about anyway.  Right now, I'll just stick with good 'ol Richard Hale.  Works for me.

1 comment:

Lisette Brodey said...

Funny post. I think you picked the best form of your name. I'd keep it. :)

There are certain things that I might use a pen name for, but the need hasn't arisen yet. In the meantime, I'm just trudging along with my real name.

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