pseudonyms

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yoyo123
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pseudonyms

Postby yoyo123 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:24 am

Is there a general consensus on whether or not it's worth the hassle to use a pseudonym if you have an unpronounceable (and therefore difficult to remember) name? I'm considering submitting fiction under my maiden name because it's at least phonetic, and would also give me some privacy/separation from my other career. Good idea, or too much trouble?

I sent in my first ever submission to a pro market this week (yay!) which I am certain will be an instant reject (boo!) so I have time to figure it out. I did submit with my maiden name, but that's easy enough to change going forward. At this point I'm really only sending stuff out to force myself to finish stories.

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Re: pseudonyms

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:49 am

I think it's pretty common for authors to use pseudonyms, regardless of the reasons. WoTF judge, David Wolverton, goes by David Farland as well, and his only reason was to allow for easier genre hopping.

If you think it'll be helpful, I say go for it. :)
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby storysinger » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:20 pm

I read a post about Dave getting a review where the reader made the comment that Wolverton could be found on the last shelf at the end of the last row. That was unacceptable. I believe that Farland is his mother's maiden name.
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:00 pm

We are fiction writers, and spec fic at that. You can be anything you want. I think having a difficult name is an excellent reason to change it. If people can't remember or pronounce your name, how will they tell their friends to buy your books one day? Choose wisely. It will be your brand, and as you build your brand, that name cannot be changed without losing all the work you did to make it known.

When you write your stories, your real name and address go on the upper left of the first page, but your byline is your pseudonym.
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yoyo123
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby yoyo123 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:47 am

Thanks all. I think I'll continue to use my more easily pronounceable/spell-able name then. My current name isn't very long, but in my experience nearly everyone I've ever met has had difficulty even attempting it.

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yoyo123
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby yoyo123 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:39 am

On a related note, is it still limiting to have a female name when writing sci fi novels, or are we past that now?

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Re: pseudonyms

Postby MiloMinderbinder » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:25 am

Wulf Moon wrote:We are fiction writers, and spec fic at that. You can be anything you want. I think having a difficult name is an excellent reason to change it. If people can't remember or pronounce your name, how will they tell their friends to buy your books one day? Choose wisely. It will be your brand, and as you build your brand, that name cannot be changed without losing all the work you did to make it known.


Right, readers have to be able find your books. When I worked at Barnes & Noble, half the staff would shelve Eric Van Lustbader's books under "L" and the other half under "V". Like Moon says, choose wisely.
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:21 am

yoyo123 wrote:On a related note, is it still limiting to have a female name when writing sci fi novels, or are we past that now?


We better be past it... but almost every female author I can think of in the genre uses their initials, which makes me think this is a hill that hasn't been taken yet. wotf020
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby storysinger » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:05 am

Dave's email for today mentions Anne McCaffrey. No initials there and one of the greatest female writers ever IMHO. If any of you have never read her Pern series you have something to look forward to. Especially if you like dragons.
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:35 am

yoyo123 wrote:On a related note, is it still limiting to have a female name when writing sci fi novels, or are we past that now?


In getting that novel published right now, and in garnering awards, I would think it's a plus to be known as a female author. The industry is bending over backwards right now to prove it's inclusive. Not just me saying that--I've had this discussion with other editors as well. Look at the 2019 Hugo and Nebs for best novel, and you'll see Mary Robinette Kowal. An SF female author that doesn't feel she needs to hide behind initials to sell, and indeed, she does not.
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:08 pm

Having said this, here is the reason I believe the industry is bending over backwards, and why some female authors still have fears about writing under a female gender associated name. Funny, I read this after the post above. Serendipitous timing! Here's the empirical data.

https://www.tor.com/2019/09/10/gender-a ... fe286990c7
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby AlexH » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:56 pm

Writers of the Future is blind submissions, so your name, gender etc. can't even have a subconscious effect in this contest. I don't know much about novels, but many of my favourite contemporary short stories are by female authors.

Have you thought about using the initial for your difficult-to-pronounce name? Or shortening it in some way? A difficult-to-pronounce name doesn't seem to have done Annie Proulx, Chuck Palahniuk or Dr. Seuss any harm, but there are exceptions to every rule of course.

Privacy-wise, I didn't want to use my name initially, being a private person myself. I always used a pseudonym online and spent months coming up with a domain name for my website. But I ended up in a band and winning photo competitions, so my name started appearing online and in newspapers, interviews etc. I gradually became more comfortable with that sort of exposure, and I am proud of my name - it's part of me. All that time thinking of a domain name turned out to be a waste of time as I decided I didn't like it. Rather than think of another new name, I ended up redirecting it to a domain name of my name. Just something to think about - like Wulf says, your name is your brand. It'd be a pain if you wanted to change it in the future. Then again, a maiden name isn't really a change is it? So after writing all that, my feeling is you'd be forever happy using your maiden name! :)
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Re: pseudonyms

Postby Henckel » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:31 pm

For most of my life, my name was Chris Hinkle. But, about seven years ago I changed it to Chris Henckel (the original spelling before in was anglicized 300 years ago).

Thus far, I publish under the Hinkle spelling of my name. Mostly because this is stuff I wrote while learning the craft of writing. It’s not necessarily award winning material.

But, once I go pro (and I will, because I’m determined) I will publish under the Henckel spelling on my name. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one to me.


…Or I could publish under an entirely new name. Maybe Hank. I could be a Hank…

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Re: pseudonyms

Postby AlexH » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:35 am

Hank Henckel has a certain ring to it.
35: R R R | 36: R HM ? ?

Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)


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