Saturday, 7 November 2009

Subbing under a pen name

A blog reader left a question on the Submissions Etiquette post asking about how to present submissions when using a pseudonym.

I realised I didn't know the answer, so I asked a woman who does - Sally Quilford (that's not her real name, but is the name she writes under. And she'll always be Sally to me!)

And here's her answer:

When I send out stories to magazines, I always add a cover sheet. I start with the title, word count and my pen-name, centred and in bold and about size 18 font, about five lines down the page, then put the address in ordinary size 12 font about another five lines down, but on the left, as so:

Title of Story

(word count 0000)


Pen Name

Real Name
(Writing as Pen Name)
My Street
My Town
phone number

That's always been enough for me when dealing with professional editors, who are used to dealing with pen-names.

Blogger won't format this quite as Sally sent it, but you get the idea. Thanks, Sally!


Quillers said...

Glad to be of help, Womag. Anytime, you know that.

I'm Sally to more than half the people I know nowadays! Even my aunty, who's known me all my life, called me Sally to another aunt.

Kath said...

I always put "pen name of..." on the cover sheet but The Lady sent me a cheque made out to my pen name. They were very apologetic when I phoned and replaced it by return. I had wondered if the bank would accept the cheque, if I endorsed it in my pen name, because you used to be able to do that at one time - someone could endorse (ie sign) the back of a cheque made out to them and you'd be able to pay it into your own bank account without question. But this was in the long ago days before widespread identity fraud.

womagwriter said...

Kath - no you can't do that with cheques now. They are 'crossed' and marked 'payee only'. You would have to open an account in your pen-name (and that might not be easy) to pay the cheque in in that name.

Good that The Lady replaced the cheque quickly.

Kath said...

Yes, it was good of them. Might change it round next time I send one out, like Sally suggests, so my real name is at the top, then "writing as..."

I think that endorsing business might have been a way of avoiding cheques being swallowed up by a student overdraft!

Colette McCormick said...

Whenever I've used a pen name I've been paid electronically by Paypal or BACS so the cheque hasn't been a problem. As for subbing I've always put my real name on the letter and the pen name on the title page. I think I might have got away with that because the people I was working with know me and know that I sometimes use a pen name. Sally's approach seems a lot more professional.

Geraldine Ryan said...

I wonder why people use a pen name? I must admit one of the best things about writing is seeing my name in print. But then I have a huge ego!

Geraldine Ryan said...

By the way, Womagwriter (and Qillers) congrats on your article success this month.

Plus, looks like contributors to your blog have FF sewn up this month, too!

Have you read any of the lovely stories in the Young Writers comp judged by Anthony Horowitz? The magazine looks lovely this month!

Bernadette said...

That's very similar to the way I do it too, Sally.

Geraldine, when I started writing fiction I was also doing some technical writing for professional magazines related to the day job. So I chose a pen name to keep the two things apart. I could change back now, I suppose, but I've got used to it over the years.
I enter comps in my real name though!

Olivia Ryan said...

I use my real name (Sheila Norton) for short stories so haven't had to explain the Olivia pseudonym to magazine editors. But Geri, on the question of why people use pseudonyms - I've written a feature about this for Writers Forum, which the editor has approved in principle but I'm currently still waiting for formal acceptance. I hope it does get published as I interviewed a lot of other pseudonym-users, about their reasons, how they chose the names, etc and (I think, of course!) it makes interesting reading! There are as many reasons as there are names, and I was actually amazed at how many writers do use them. I won't give any more away!

Geraldine Ryan said...

Will look forward to this Olivia - er - Sheila.

Antonia said...

I do the same as Sal. Or did, as I haven't sent anything anywhere for a while, because of the Uni course I'm doing at the moment. But somebody once sent me a cheque in my pen name, too, and I had to ask for another. They cancelled the first cheque but I still have it just to remind myself I was paid, once!

Quillers said...

Amazon sent me a cheque in my pen-name once, for stories I had in their Amazon Shorts programme. It was only for $10 so it was hardly worth sending it back. But annoyingly all those pesky tax forms they made me fill in had my real name on them, so you'd think they'd have known.

I use a pen-name simply as a means of escaping from the real me. I find that Sally Quilford often dares write things that Tracy Hartshorn wouldn't (and my erotica writer pen-name, which is staying under wraps, is even more daring!)

But as so many people know me as Sally now, the lines between the real me and the writer me are becoming increasingly blurred.

Quillers said...

Meant to say, Olivia, I look forward to reading your article too!

Kathryn said...

It was me that asked about this. Thanks very much for following it up for me; the information is really helpful.

Jo Anglezarke said...

I got some very good advice from an otherwise below par creative writing teacher a few weeks ago - something that I kind of knew I'd have to do but haven't got round to...

A pen name! My second name is Celia so I'm half sure of my new persona - but can't decide on the surname - there seems to be a lot of Celia's already out there on novels too!

Great advice :)