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To Use a Pen Name, or Not to Use a Pen Name? That is the Question.

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As an author, when I first began working on my “brand” and building my writing platform, I began thinking about my name. My real name isn’t something I’m embarrassed by, it just doesn’t pop off the book, like the pen name I chose. I thought about this today and figured, what a perfect blog post topic! The question of should I use a pen name or not comes up often. I hope this blog post helps you make the decision if you have been finding yourself lately, wondering the answer to the same question.

What is a pen name? A pen name is a name that many authors choose for themselves to go by, rather than using their given name. Other artists such as; actors and musicians, may also pick a pen name, though I believe it’s referred to as a “stage name”.

Famous Authors Who Use Pen Names:

  • J.K. Rowling
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Mark Twain

Reasons for Using a Pen Name:

  • J.K. Rowling uses this as her pen name because of the idea that the target audience of The Harry Potter, books wouldn’t accept them from a woman. She didn’t have a middle name, so she borrowed the K from a close relative. Many authors run across this issue and make the change because of it. I think no matter what you call J.K. Rowling, she’s doing pretty great for herself, don’t you?
  • I recently read an article somewhere, forgive me for not remembering, but it said that Dr. Seuss wasn’t actually a Dr. Which, while not surprising, the real reason why he chose to include it in his pen name. He had always wanted to be a Doctor, so when choosing a pen name, he decided to add it. How cool is that, huh?
  • Other reasons: keeping their identity a secret due to the content they write. If a teacher were to write erotica, it could be frowned upon if that were to get out. Some people use a pen name to separate their work, as in they write in different genres.
  • I created the pen name I have, KT Daxon because I didn’t like how my real name, Sarah Dale appeared on a book cover.

How to Choose the Perfect Pen Name: 

Choosing a pen name can be very difficult. I went through a few notebook pages of names before I finally came up with KT Daxon. You want to choose something that pop, sounds catchy, but not cheesy (but that’s okay too), and you can relate to. For me; I chose parts of my name, my past, and my present. K and T come from the first initial of my children’s names. They are a part of me, a very important part that I carry with me always. Da is the first two letters of my married name (which I’m proud of and it’s my now and my future), xon is the last three letters of my maiden name (my past, always a part of who I am). So, as you can see. KT Daxon is a complete part of who I am.

If you decide to choose a pen name for yourself, research, research, research. Test it out on a book cover, and make sure it’s what you want. Make it a part of you, your life or your actual name.

Lastly, know that if you DON’T choose a pen name, you’ll still be part of the “cool club”, because it’s not about the name, it’s about who is behind the name and what amazing stuff they do with it.

Happy Writing,

7 thoughts on “To Use a Pen Name, or Not to Use a Pen Name? That is the Question.

  1. Love the blog! Especially helpful, because I’ve been going through the pen name struggle for a while now, so thanks for sharing!

    1. Yay!!! So glad it was a helpful post. Honestly, mine came to me one night after I got frustrated. I thought about my kids and said to myself, “F it, I’ll just do something like KT Daxon.” Just like that, in one exhale of frustration, I had my pen name. Though, I love your name, btw. What would be your reasoning for using a pen name? What’s your middle initial?

  2. I would only use a pen name in certain instances, I suppose. My middle initial is R. I’m glad you like my name! Maybe it’ll pop like I need it to. Hehe

    1. M.R. Westcott?

      Hmm, yeah I think your real name pops pretty well. Let me know if you need to bounce names off me. I’d love to help where I can. DM’s usually always open. 🙂

  3. I am considering a pen name, because there is already an Erika Rose writing romance out there. It may become a necessity. I am pretty frustrated about it, but I could also go back to my maiden name. I don’t have a middle name, so I use my maiden name anyway, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch.

    1. What I love about using a pen name is that you have all the means at your fingertips to be creative. I got so frustrated when deciding mine. I wanted it to pop. My “real” name is fine and I respect it, but just blah on a book cover. Erika Rose sounds like a solid name. Hard to play around with it though….hmmm. I wish you the best in what you decide, but remember to have fun with it! <3

      Thank you for reading the post!

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