Pen Names and Social Media

This may come across as a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do kind of post. And it is, kind of. I want to make social media easier for you, so learn from my mistakes.

There are many blogs and books discouraging use of pen names, but I’m not going to do that. If you feel like you must use a pen name, then use a pen name. BUT use ONE pen name. Keeping up to date with more than one personality is hard. Hell, it’s almost impossible. I have three.

That means 3 times the blogging, 3 times the Tweeting, 3 times the Facebooking, not to mention the writing. I forgot to post a blog yesterday. Why? Well, real life happened and I was busy with a different personality. Believe me when I tell you, IT SUCKS!

I have reasons for all three of my personalities and they’re good reasons. Are they VALID reasons, though? Probably not.

Before you decide to use a pen name, stop and ask yourself: Is it worth it?

  1. With technology today, people can still find out who you are with little effort
  2. It will mean more work for you
  3. If you meet someone as your real self, will you be able to sell them your books?
  4. Writer’s meetings and conferences can be VERY confusing
  5. WHEN people find out, will it appear to them that you are embarrassed of your work?

There are many reasons not to use a pen name. You need to weigh your reasons carefully and be honest with yourself. If you still think the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, then go for it. But be ready to juggle and know that there will be times when you drop the ball.

I want to know: What do you think are valid reasons for pen names?

About Falyn Donaldson

Author and Naughty-minded girl
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6 Responses to Pen Names and Social Media

  1. CJ Lemire says:

    Valid reasons to use a pen name? I’d suggest the reasons why I use one. Wanting to keep my writing life separate from my professional identity in my day job, and not wanting my kids to have that easy a time finding my erotic work and connecting it back to me. I’m not embarrassed of my work, but I do want to maintain clear lines and boundaries between my writing identity and some of the other hats I need to wear.

  2. Rita Bay says:

    Naughty Falyn, did not know about pen name #2. How complicated it must be!! I use a pen name because I’m a private person who wouldn’t want to be stalked. I also do volunteer work that I wouldn’t want associated with my writing. The folks I volunteer with know about my writing but most of my friends, acquaintances and relatives do not. Rita Bay

  3. I have two pen names. My reason for having both of them are very valid. The first one is a play on my real name. My initials spelled out and my real last name. My new name is nothing resembling my real name.

    The main reason I chose to write with a pen name in the first place was the public/private thing. I didn’t want my middle school age children to tell their teachers (which the happily did because they were proud of me) that their mommy was an author. And then have the teacher find the book and judge my children based on what I’d written. Paranormal erotic romance wasn’t exactly in vogue in those days.

    The new name is because I am writing edgier than I did six years ago. Now my older kids are in highschool and one in college and I don’t worry so much about what would happen if their teachers found out. But I do have a four year old who will be starting school in August. And there is no way in hell I want Miss Kindergarten teacher knowing that I write menage and gay erotic romance.

    But yes it does make for some interesting fun trying to keep everyone separate. I like to think that pen name number one is the real me. But you know me. The more I think about her, the more I realize I made her this idealized version of me that I am not. She is my alter ego, my writer self my…..when in fact she was sort of pretentious and snotty.
    Mercy is me, the real me, the me I have kept on a leash my entire life. She’s the smart ass girl with a dirty mind who cusses like a sailor and likes football and hot cars.

    The other things you’ve mentioned. I no longer try to have a personal blog, and I don’t do much under the first pen name anymore either because I really don’t plan to publish under that name again. I concentrate on Mercy, but I still don’t have the time or the brain cells to remember and do everything I need to do in a day.

    And I’m still upset that you won’t even tell me the third name. Mercy of all people knows and understands. Crossing arms over chest and giving stink eye to Falyn.

  4. I absolutely need a pen name. I want my private life to remain as private as possible. Maybe it’s hopeless, but I have to try.

  5. All of these reasons are good ones. Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing what you think is right. YOU are the one who has to live with your decision. Therefore, it should be YOUR decision to make.

    I LOVE what Julia said, “Maybe it’s hopeless, but I have to try.” Well said, indeed!

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