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Pen Name: How To Create Yours

Pen Name eBook

by Jennifer on June 12, 2012

Do you want to be a bestselling author? I mean, isn’t that every writer’s dream, to see their name appear on a list of bestsellers?

A lot goes into being a bestselling author, including writing a kick-ass book that shines in all 6 core competencies. But there’s another important part that most people don’t talk about.

The name.

A name can either make or break you as far as marketing goes. Your name has to be something memorable, something that people will be able to recall when they’re at a bookstore.

Because if people can’t remember you, you’re going to have one hell of a time trying to sell your books.

The biggest problem, however, is that most real names aren’t very marketable.

It’s All In The Name

Let’s take recent American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, for example. The first time you heard his name, you probably had one of two thoughts—“What a stupid name” or “Why would his parents do that to him?” Making a name for yourself in the music business is tough and takes more hard work than you can even imagine.

Now try making it in the business with the same first and last name.

Face it—without American Idol, Phillip Phillips would’ve been just another guy at open mic night.

I’m not trying to shit-talk Phillip Phillips. I’m sure he’s a talented guy and will do great in the music industry now that he’s won American Idol. I’m just trying to make the point that your name is important.

Is Your Name Marketable Enough?

That’s up to you to decide. Your name should meet the following three minimum requirements for you to even consider using it on your books:

  • Easy to Remember—if your name isn’t easy to remember, forget about using it. Being memorable is tops when it comes to marketing.
  • Easy to Spell—and I mean truly easy to spell. If a potential reader can’t spell your name, she won’t be able to find your website or your books.
  • URL is Available—whether you believe it or not, your URL has to match your author name. If the dot-com for your real name is already taken, you should seriously consider a pen name.

Why A Pen Name?

A pen name is a fantastic way to create exactly the name you want. You can find the most memorable name around and then use it on your books. The power is in your hands.

Still don’t believe a name is important? Let me tell you the story of a musician named Katy Hudson.

The Katy Hudson Story

Katy Hudson was a Christian artist trying to make a name for herself in the business. She had a label and put out an album, but it went nowhere.

Down and out, Katy tried again, this time in Hollywood. She changed her musical style and began working with one of the biggest names in music. She even found a new label.

But still, nothing stuck.

Katy was down and out. Again. She couldn’t afford to pay her rent or her car payment.

Then one day, she heard rock and roll for the first time. And suddenly something lit up inside her. Katy knew exactly who she was and who she needed to be.

So she began writing pop-rock songs. Then another record label got on board with her new sound.

But there was a huge problem. Her name.

Not only was Katy Hudson pretty boring overall, it was also a name that belonged to a Hollywood actress (Kate Hudson).

So Katy changed it. She took on her mom’s maiden name and instead found her fame and fortune as a musician named Katy Perry.

Trust me, it’s all in the name.

Creating A Pen Name

Coming up with the right name isn’t always easy. It takes time and brainstorming. It takes thoroughly analyzing all your potential names to see which one will work best.

But it is possible to find the right name. And now there’ s a little eGuide to help you do just that.

Pen Name: How To Create Yours, is an eGuide that walks you through the steps of coming up with a list of pen name ideas, then narrowing it down using strategic information, which will help you land on your perfect name.

The book contains printable worksheets to help you analyze each name against the others to see exactly what name will work best for you and your writing.

Learn more about Pen Name here.

Do you have a pen name? What is it?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chihuahua0 June 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

Right now, it’s Chihuahua0/Chihuahua Zero.

While it’s quite unique, and no one seems to mind that I’m using such a ridiculous name in a community of writers that use proper names, it will probably not work when I go into YA. I might be able to get away with it in MG, but only if I’m on the humorous side.

Right now, the name I use on Facebook is Train Kingsbury (don’t tell Facebook!). “Train” comes from a strange progression from my current username to “Choo-Choo Train”.

However, what will probably be my pen name (since I share the same name with a few famous people) is Alexander Kingsbury. Google reports several people with that name though, so there’s always “Train Kingsbury” (which Google says no one has that name except a kiddie train with no publicity.)

2 Author June 12, 2012 at 11:58 pm

A friend of mine joked around about my pen name when I decided to write. I opted to use the name she said because I thought it was unique. I loved the article you have written here. It was very useful.

Astor E. Teller

3 Andrew Toynbee June 20, 2012 at 3:13 am

Love your name Astor… 😀

I decided upon the name I’m using because my (rather lengthy) surname has always been shortened to ‘B’, which became ‘Bee’ for fun. When I saw BBC reported Polly Toynbee’s name for the first time, I immediately knew it had to be my pen name too…obviously without the Polly bit though.

And in case an Agent (if I ever get one on-side!) dislikes it, I am ready to flip it over and become Tony B. Andrews. If nothing else, it’ll move me up the alphabetical ranking.

4 Michaela October 12, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Mine is, “Keiko Foxfeather”

5 Kim January 23, 2013 at 3:12 am

Is there any other way to get access to view the ebook without having a kindle? I’ve tried downloading the app, but it will not allow me to borrow the book. This is frustrating to me. I wish it were available to view in PDF format. Would make things easier.

6 Jennifer January 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Hi Kim,

Unfortunately while the book is enrolled in the Kindle KDP program, I’m not allowed to sell it in any other form (like a PDF). The book will be available in PDF again after January 27 (when the KDP select runs out). So definitely check back on it after that date!

7 Jeanne Frost January 31, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I have decided to use the pen name Ruth Remington. I have registered this on Smashwords now and was wondering if you would give me some feedback on how it sounds to you. Thank you!

8 Ariana Blanch Macasaet March 14, 2013 at 2:34 am

Hi. Well, you see, I was typing up this story on Word whilst having this impossible problem about pen names. I wanted mine to be really cool and somehow related to my series like Pittacus Lore. And my series is called The Ministry of Eden, so I wanted my name to most likely have the word Minister in it. So without any pen names in mind yet, I simply typed up my nickname ‘Rian’ and my surname ‘Macasaet’. But spellcheck suggested Rain for ‘Rian’ and Maculate for ‘Macasaet’. Somehow, this sent me spiralling down to the pen name Maculate Rain. I was pretty happy about it because it ambiguously mirrors my real name and is still connected to my series! You see, my series is very elaborate and depicts that there is this big organization called the Ministry of Eden and that it proves that there is no paranormal, supernatural, mythological, or that there is even any god. That there is no such thing as free will (as the herione thinks so, but further down the story, you will really find out XD). The motif of it is “Everything is significant”. And somehow, the Ministry can explain so much, yet rain is a total mystery to them. *do take note that this story is not meant to insult/offend anyone or their beliefs* So I would like to hear some feedback/comments about Maculate Rain. I’m open for anyhting, just not flames 😀 Thank you!

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