Monday, June 11, 2012

I need your opinion...

So, what do you think about pennames?

My mom thinks they're silly, but I'm still undecided.

Of course, it has it's obvious ups and downs.

Ups:
It would give me a chance to come up with something really cool to 'name' myself.  I mean, how many times does a person get to choose their own name?

If I had one, my name would have to have a nice ring to it... like Jessica Kay or something.  That way it's still sorta my name.

And, it would totally make me feel like a spy, or an undercover agent.  It's like you can be two different people!  The nerd with glasses (lol, yes, I really do have glasses), until you take them off and become..........



The superwriter!!!!!!!

Downs:
No one would know who you are.  I mean, if you're buying food at a store and my name comes up as Jessica McKendry when my penname is Jessica Kay, that's no big dealio.  Because no one knows who Jessica McKendry is.

The thing is... I'm not even done editing yet.  I'm not a published author, moreover a well-known one.  So... why exactly am I worrying about this?

Uh because... I have nothing better to do.


What do you guys think?  Do you use a penname?  Do you think it's silly to use a penname?  Or is it weird for me to be thinking about this at all?


Happy Monday!

--Jess

33 comments:

Raz Darnell said...

I am totally pro-pen name. I think they're romantic, mysterious, and lots of fun. And yeah, it's really fun to get to pick what you want to be known as. BUT it depends on what you're hoping to accomplish. If you want to gain a little exposure as Jessica McKendry, you should use your real name. Choosing something that's sort of your real name works, too. Even actors and musicians use "stage names" which are usually some variation of the ones they were born with.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I think sort of thing is fun to think about. :) And I agree, it depends on what you're doing.
For example, I have a romance short story getting published and I used a pen name, Georgia St. Mane. St. Mane is my mom's maiden name so she like that. :) But the reasons I did it are 1. Schieffelbein is very unromantic. 2.I hope to publish MG & YA stuff, and I want a seperate name for that.
For the record, I think you have a cool name already. :)

Mohamed Mughal said...

I think J (insert your middle initial) McKendry sounds pretty writerly, so why not stick with that?

Mohamed Mughal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tobi Summers said...

Tobi Summers is a pen name. I started using it because my real name is fairly uncommon, and I have all kinds of mental issues with privacy on the internet. Plus, I kind of like knowing that what I say or do in my personal life isn't going to affect my (hopefully soon) professional life, and vice versa.

Susan Barclay said...

The only reason I would ever consider using a pen name is if I don't want to personally be associated with my writing because of its subject matter. I have a friend who may write her memoirs under a pen name so her family doesn't get upset with her. I met a writer at a workshop Saturday who plans to use a pen name for her work because she heard that if you write erotic sex scenes (there is one, apparently non-gratuitious, in her first book, and she heard that if you write anything like that you can wind up with stalkers...

I do think it could be fun to choose your own name, though - as you say, how often do you get to do that?!

Angeline Trevena said...

I say each to their own. I think Jessica McKendry sounds very writery. The thing I do disagree with is women feeling the need to hide behind an androgynous name. Freedom for women writers to be women writers (except in particular genres) hasn't moved on in hundreds of years, and never will if we all hide our gender. But that's just my beef.

Personally, I won't use a pen name; I have such a super unusual name it seems a shame to waste it (if you Google me, I'm the only one you'll find!) Plus I want EVERYONE to know I'm a writer! (Vain? Possibly. Who cares?!)

Ginger said...

I use a pen-name for blogging, but my real name for essays published locally. I have a fear of being discovered on the internet - I'm a very shy and unpopular girl at school, so people finding out the peak of my weirdness would be everything but good for me. If I finally finished a novel and got published,I would go for a pen-name similar to my name. That way, friends or fans could identify me but not the general public.

Thanks for following me by the way :)

Ashna Banga said...

I guess I would like my real name to be on the cover for the first reason you mentioned. Who would know me otherwise? :P But I also think it might just depend on the kind of book you're writing (I don't know why, Meg Cabot came to mind. She has a pen name Patricia Cabot for her adult books).

Whichever option you choose, I think your name is already cool! :)

Carrie-Anne said...

I chose my pen name on 19 May 1993, when I was 13, and two years later changed the surname Brown to Brownian when I became an Armenophile. The name has always just seemed to fit me, even though I probably would've chosen something a little more unique had I been older and a more serious namenerd when I picked a pseudonym.

My legal name is the most common and overused female name in history after only Mary, and I always found my first name very boring. I honestly don't get why it's so popular now, on both fictional characters and the under-10 set. And people are always mangling my unusual Slovakian surname into something Irish or Scottish, sometimes even more off the mark.

Susan Francino said...

I actually don't have strong opinions about using a pseudonym vs. not using one... It seems like it's mostly a matter of personal preference and individual circumstance. Also, I think Jessica K. McKendry sounds cool already. :)

Jaime Morrow said...

I don't think I would ever use a pen name. I've always been of the mind that if I put in the work and actually managed to get published, I want MY name on the book. I do understand why people opt to use one, though.

Kate said...

I think that Jessica Kay does sound cool. Just like how some singers keep their name yet shorten or simplify it with a stage name (like Beyoncé). It just is a matter of whether you want your name to be famous and not your identity or if you want people to know who you are all the time.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I write under a penname. Wendy Tyler Ryan is not my name although, Wendy is my first name. The other two names I stole from my sons, Tyler and Ryan. I promised them long ago that if I got lucky enough to be published, they would see their names in print. Aside from the muchy stuff, a penname makes sense for a lot of reasons. I know some writers who write both erotic romance and childrens books. You can see why she wouldn't want to use the same name for both. But there are many other reasons as well. It's a personal choice and not the least bit silly.

Aldrea Alien said...

I chose my pen name years ago, without even realising it.
For some years, I toyed with calling myself Aldrea K Alien. Went round the web calling myself Aldrea Alien. Then I discovered how common my real name is in the writing world and how it’s shared by a person writing paranormal erotica.
So even if I used my real name, I could be confused with others. -_-
Whereas Aldrea Alien is wholly mine. Seriously. I googled it. The first hit is my blog, then various profile pages and twitter. ^_^ Plus, I write sci-fi & fantasy, so it sort of fits.

I don’t care if no one knows me when I’m ordering food or walking down the street. As long as, when the time comes, they can find me and my stories on the web, I’m cool with being Aldrea Alien.

Callie Leuck said...

This question comes up for women a lot, and more along the lines of what name to use after getting married. Several journalists/novelists I know use their maiden name as their professional name for continuity (they were already established writers under that name) but sometimes have problems getting checks cut to the right name. That's probably not as much of a concern for a novelist.

I toyed with the idea of a pseudonym for a long time, and had made my mind up to do it when I suddenly realized (while contemplating changing my name after marriage) that darn it I like my name and if my work is going to appear published anywhere, it's going to be under my name.

Of course, you can always start out with a pen name and then change to your real name later. Meg Cabot originally wrote under the name Patricia Cabot.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I use my real name for my YA, but if I ever tried to publish in a different genre, I'd probably use a penname for that.

I don't think it's ever too early to think about the name you want to use. All of your work will be linked to that name.

ChiTown Girl said...

I agree with you about the pros and cons. I use a pen name for my blog, just to protect my privacy. I think if I ever became a published author, I'd want to use my real name, so people know who I am. Although, like some of the other commentors have said, depending on the subject matter that I write about, I may want to use a pen name.

Thanks for following!

Krista McLaughlin said...

A pen name would definitely be a way to protect your identity. I like Emiliana. I use it for my fanfiction, but I think with my actual writing - I put all of the effort writing, editing, rewriting, and revising twenty times. I would want my name on it just so I remember that it's my accomplishment.

sjp said...

The pen name I use is derived from my own and draws from my inspiration :) I like keeping my writing apart from my personal so it doesnt affect peoples opinions when reading it, though if whether I would use my name for when I am published I dont know. Definitly a personal choice thought I agree your name is front cover friendly.

wchaser said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with a pen name, it separates your real life from your 'hobby' (or hopefully career) life. I use a pen name derived from my XBox live gamertag (the W. is Whippet in XBL). We used to do dog agility and my whippet, being so much faster than me, was always in front, hence Whippet Chaser (and therefore W.Chaser). I like Jessica Kay though, like you say it retains some of you as well as being different.

running4him said...

I have a pen name, so yeah I like them. I am not like super secretive about it though, its just kinda like who I am when I write, people still know my real name!!)) No, not weird for you to be thinking about it!!

Insomniac #4 said...

IMO, if you're ever published I'd say go with your real name or a slight modification of it. You put in all the hard work, got the greenlight from the gatekeepers (or busted your butt self-publishing/self-marketing), and got your story out to the masses. Why not tell them who you are?

D.G. Hudson said...

It's a good idea for the reasons mentioned to use a pen name. What is more important to you? (your name being on the book or your book being out there for others to read?)It's a personal decision, so if you don't have to, why bother til later on?

Being harassed on the internet is no fun. Trolls do exist. Some bloggers don't have a choice.

Pen names are definitely not silly, unless you change them frequently. . .

Daisy Carter said...

I think pen names are great for some people - those who want their privacy or who write for more than one genre. For example, if I wrote erotica AND picture books, I'd definitely use two different names so as not to confuse my readership on either side (fyi, I write neither, but you know what I mean).

THanks for following - new follower!

The Golden Eagle said...

I use a pen name to blog, so I certainly don't think it's a silly idea, or weird to be considering it now. :) I've thought about using a pen name if I published a book, too--I'm not sure if I would at this point.

Griffinclaw said...

I personally like pen names. While at home and stuff I write all my stories under my real name, if I ever plan on getting published one day, there is a 80% chance that I will publish under a pen name. Mostly because I'm a bit paranoid, and I like privacy. I would want my readers to read for the story, not just because it's a certain author or because it's just by me. :D Plus pen names are pretty cool if do it right. ^^

Wendy Lu said...

This is an interesting topic! I personally like pen names as well, but in a way that both your real name and your pen name are of common knowledge. I came up with the Red Angel back when I first created my blog...it first just started out as my blog name, and then people started referring me to Red Angel. I've recently gone back to signing with my real name instead of TRA. I think it's all about personal preference, anyhow. :)

~Wendy Lu

The Red Angel Blog

Chuck said...

I actually like Bic or Roller Ball...just a little humor :) Jessica Kay sounds perfect. Do it if you feel it.

Pk Hrezo said...

I think pen names are fine if you plan t stick with it. Otherwise, it gets tricky. If there's a chance you may want to go back to your real name at some point, no one will know you for the author you were (unless you're a mega name).
If you want to protect your real name, then pen names are an excellent way to have that alternate persona. Roni Loren uses a pen name cuz she write erotica and has a family so didnt want it to get weird. Decisions, decisions.

Lexa Cain said...

Great topic for discussion and I loved reading all the comments above. I use several pennames because of three reasons:
Branding (different genres, and YA vs Adult)
Internet privacy (no stalkers please)
It's just plain fun! (like being in an RPG)

Sophia Chang said...

I actually thought alot about this when I stopped blogging pseudonomously.

The reason I'm both blogging AND writing under my real name is because 1) There aren't alot of Asian-American writers so I definitely wanted to promote my Chinese last name 2) I'm proud of the other accomplishments I've made under this name.

And I hate to be a downer...but the chance of someone recognizing my name at the grocery store isn't that huge unless I become Stephanie Meyer lol

Reiko said...

As many people have commented already, it is a personal choice.

That being said, as your Grandma, I think your real name has a beautiful ring to it. Whether you go by Jessica McKendry or J.K. McKendry, yours does sound very much like a writer's name. And you ARE one!

As for me, I would not think of using a pen name because of my professional goals in life.

Love, Grandma

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