4 Reasons to Use a Pen Name

These are the two state books that I wrote last year. You’ll note that these books aren’t published under my name but are under a pen name – L.C. Edwards. Why on earth would a writer with 30+ books decide to use a pen name? There are a number of reasons.

Writing for a Different Audience

One reason to use a pen name is if you write multiple types of books for different audiences. One of my writing friends writes for children and also writes romances. While she writes sweet romances that aren’t in the least bit raunchy, she wants to separate her audiences a bit. In order to do this, she writes under one name for children and under another for her romance audience.

Royalties vs Work-for-hire

Another reason to use a pen name is to make sure your royalty titles come up first in a search. This can be important for those of us who have a large number of work-for-hire titles. When you write work-for-hire, you get paid a set fee for the job. When you write for royalties, you make money based on how well the book sells. If someone searches for you and your books, it can be helpful to have the royalty books come up first. One way to do this is with a pen name – S. Bradford Edwards vs Sue Bradford Edwards.

Contract

Another reason to use a pen name is because you are contractually obligated to do so. That was how I came to use a pen name for these two books. Because the writers for this project were updating an existing series, they asked us to write using pen names.

Because You Want To

Yet another reason to use a pen name is because you want to. Some writers make this decision because they don’t like they’re name. Others simply want to chose a name that is better suited to their genre. Ida Crumb (I made that up!) might choose to write romance under Annalee Coeur and fantasy under Eylene Chanmontayn. Or you might have two writers working together who use a pen name for their joint efforts.

I suspect that the reasons for using pen names, and the names that are chosen, are as varied as the writers who use them. Have you ever considered using a pen name?

–SueBE