♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Pseudonyms: What are your thoughts on them. Why did you choose to write under a pen name or why do you think writers shouldn’t? How did you come up with yours? What are interesting ones you wished you’d picked?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are always grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors will engage and impress you weekly, so be prepared to become a regular reader.
Very early in my writing I was aware of how little success I might enjoy in the writing field if it were known that I am a woman writing military, historical fiction or even science fiction and fantasy. The cold facts are that women are still not considered as capable as men in any field. If we are viewed as capable, then it is as scribblers of smut and girly stories. They can’t even respect the genres, Romance and Women’s Literature, where women dominate. They being both the industry and readers in a generalized sense, simply because the majority feel this way whether it is conscious or not.
This decision was made in my twenties, which was back in the 1990s. Most certainly there have been strides made since, but I am also coming from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. My history, and the history of the field, our world, our culture, is something I am very familiar with. After all, I do write historical fiction and I did study the political in novels and films. Whether we want to admit it or not, this is the reality.
I thought very long and very hard on what I was going to put on the covers of my books. After all, this was the name I would be labeled with for all time. Likely people would take to calling me this name, instead of my own name. Choosing a nomme de plumme is no easy task. Once you choose to do so, it becomes imperative that you do, the reasons to do so quickly outweighing the reasons to forget it.
When I was a girl, I was deeply attached to my great grandmother. Her name was Catherine to all who knew her, but Katherine to those in the family. The reason for the spelling discrepancy is disputed by the family to this day. Gramma Catie (Katie), also went by Kay. (Our family seems to have a K thing going on.) I remember her teacup with the name on it. I lost her when I was still a girl. She had contracted pancreatic cancer, and it slowly sapped the strength from her. I insist to this day that she too part of me with her, because the sun went down, so to speak, the moment I learned of her passing.
Always on the fringe of my thoughts, while I explored names I might like to call myself, Kay blipped through each deliberation. As I said before, it’s nothing to take lightly. A pen name is branding.
That’s another thing, branding, that authors often balk at. When we put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, with the idea of putting that work forward in the world, it becomes a commodity, as does the person who produced it. In the entertainment field, and writing is entertainment, the producer as well as the product are commodities. People want to know what drives you, where the work came from and other things, in a quest to unravel the work. Take, for instance, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. These authors are as much sought after as their work. People fawn over them like rockstars. Their names are their own, but their solid brandable names. In my case, I have a name that is so common that 558,132 in the US have my first name. 1,834,625 have my last name. 3,174 women and men share my same name. You might recall a few famous Kelly Williams’s from television and film, and even in your town. So that left me with a second good reason to choose a pen name.
When I selected my first initial and my last name as my pseudonym, these were the things I had in mind. Above all, I wanted to be taken seriously as a writer and I could do so in a way that paid homage to my lost grandmother. Other authors choose to use a fake name for various reasons (belonging to a group that won’t approve being the biggest).
If writers wish to use pen names, I think it’s just fine for any reason they might have. The use of such a mask is a great story in itself.
Let’s hop on over to see what the other authors have had to say about pen names…