I'd like to know why and when authors use pen names. The recent activity on SheWrites about Twitter Handles has me thinking about changing my twitter name from @mydustbunnies (linked to the name of my blog) to my actual name in order to strengthen my brand. However, I have a really long, ethnic last name that uses half the alphabet! It's really not difficult to pronounce but scares people from even trying. I'm toying with the idea of using my husband's Anglo-Saxon last name but am curious on what SheWriters think of the use of pen names. Thoughts?
I use my maiden name plus a great-aunt's name as my nom de plume since I want to keep my writing career as a separate and distinct aspect of my life. It's not a new concept. Since women began writing fiction during the Victorian era, they have always used pen names to disguise their identities and their sex (think George Sand and Isaac Dinesen). You may have a problem using your maiden name since it is very long and difficult to pronounce. It seems only natural that you would want to use your husband's English name.
I think it is okay to use a pen name for your books and to strengthen your brand.
Don't succumb to the pressure to use one simply because people find it hard to say your name. I think your name is interesting and has bits and pieces of your history. Then again, you may not want people to concentrate on your heritage in case it means they will not accept your work - a dilemma I always face.
I really wish people would try to say other people's names. It is respectful even when someone gets it wrong, because if they are open to learning they can be taught how to say it. I know I may not be saying your name right, but I like the way it feels in my mouth. It is robust and full of character.
(can you tell it's a pet peeve? :-) )
However, use whichever name helps you strengthen your brand!
Thank you Bwandungi! I appreciate your perspective and can relate to your pet peeve ;-)
Started using my maiden name as I started writing when still a maiden:D
Seriously - using my maiden name enables me to make a real distinction between the 'mum and homemaker' role and the other 'creative' me.