Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Pen names

Some magazines, including My Weekly and People's Friend don't like the same author name appearing twice in the same magazine. If more than one of your stories are selected for the same issue you'll be asked to provide a pen name. This happened to me recently and I selected two names I'd used for characters as I'd already checked these weren't the real names of anyone famous.

You might be asked to provide a pen name if your real one is the same as another author's or you usually write in a very different genre to that which the magazine publish. Or perhaps you'll have your own reasons for using one.

Have you ever needed a pen name? How did you choose it, or how will you pick one if you do get asked?

22 comments:

Beatrice Charles said...

My initial B presented the name Bea. Would love to have the problem of having to think up another.

Geraldine Ryan said...

I have the pen name Jem Mills occasionally. Jen is my husband's nickname for me. Mills is his surname. I also wrote a story that was very emotionally difficult under a pen name of my favourite character in 'The Swish of the Curtain', one of my all time favourite children's novels.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Yes Beatrice, I would too!

It seems strange, Patsy, that some mags don`t want more than one offering from the same person in one issue - to me it suggests the stories are highly enjoyable, which is helpful till I know the author. (Obviously I go for yours first)!

It`s fun to be anonymous online or when dreaming of fame, but I find it really hard choosing a name that sounds suitably appealing/gripping/fascinating...
This is a blend of a beloved house-rabbit and my literary success

Julie Day said...

Strange to know this. I agree with Dolores, that it is strange that they don't want stories by the same author in the same issue with the same author name. I'd be proud to have this there.

Kate Blackadder said...

Would love to be in this position, Patsy! There is a name I fantasised about being called when I was a child – I'd chose it ...

Janice Johnston said...

It happened to me with My Weekly. I actually had 2 stories on the same page - a woman's fiction and a children's story (it was a while ago!)Someone phoned and asked for a pseudomyn and I couldn't think what to say - ended up shortening my first name to Jan and using my maiden name. I always felt cheated though because it didn't feel as if it was me. I always like to see writers with more than one story in WW Fiction or TAB FF.

Annabella said...

I used a pseudonym for a while, but when I saw it in print it felt unreal. So my first experience of placing a piece and having it published was a little dampened! Now I use my real name for serious writing and a pseudonym for beauty&lifestyle writing. I chose a lovely feminine one as I felt like a change!

X

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Wendy's Writing said...

The People's Friend have two of my stories in the Special under my own name and have done so a few times. They used to use my pen name but don't any more.

Carolb said...

While I use my own name for contemporary, I do have my historical romance pseudonym- Serena Lake, which took a while to decide on, as I wanted a less usual first name, but then had to try different surnames to go with it that sounded right, nor too long, or already used.

I do have another name in reserve if I should ever need it. :-)

Kitty said...

I've always used a pen name as I'm a bit over-sensitive about what people think of my stories! It's Joanne Duncan which is my son's name - Duncan John - reversed and feminised. I learned early on though to put my real name at the top of the cover sheet, i.e. "Kathryn Dews writing as Joanne Duncan" as opposed to "Joanne Duncan, pen-name of Kathryn Dews", as my first cheque was actually made out to Joanne Duncan and I had to ask them to change it. If I were ever lucky enough to be asked for another one, I'd probably base it on my mother's maiden name.

Jacula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patsy said...

I don't know why some magazines have this policy and others are happy to use several stories with the same author name on them. It seems odd to me, but I suppose they have their reasons.

susanjanejones said...

I've put a pen name of the odd story or two. I used a mixture of family names and came up with Isla Jansen, which I quite like. Not that I've been in the position of having two stories published in magazines. One would be good:))

Anonymous said...

I have three pen names. The first I chose myself. I was working full-time and didn't want anyone really knowing who I was at first. That was Leonora Francis. Then a magazine asked me for a new name when a serial of mine was running at the same time as a couple of my shorts. That was Patsy McPherson. Then I decided to write erotica. That was XXX. (Hahaha! I shall remain forever silent on that one!) Anyway, I chose Leonora Francis because Leonora is my middle name and Francis was my maiden name, so all's good. I can see how having multiple pen names happen. It's just that you might not get the full recognition you deserve.

Anonymous said...

I write under one pen name for my short stories and have recently self published a novel on Kindle under a similar but different name. My real name seems rather private and separate from my writing, or maybe the writer side of me enjoys being someone else when she sits down at the PC! I couldn't imagine writing under my regular name. Good wishes KH

Karen Clarke said...

I prefer to use my own name, and I think it's a shame that Kitty is senstive to what people think of her stories as they're so good! Or maybe I'm just a show-off :o)

Anonymous said...

I use my grandmother's name. I never knew her and feel she'd see it as a tribute. It's also nice for my mum to have her mother celebrated this way.

Patsy said...

Since I posted this I recieved a copy oy My Weekly which has two of my stories, both with my name on them!

Dolores Doolittle said...

And no more than you deserve, Patsy - Well done!

HelenMWalters said...

I was asked for one once by My Weekly, and I went for Melicent Morris which is my middle name and my maiden name. So it still felt like me! I also still seem to have a few things sneaking through under my old name of Helen Hunt.

Patsy said...

Thanks, Dolores!

In a way Patsy Collins is a pen name - though it wasn't when I first used it.

Flaming Nora said...

I have just had an acceptance from The People's Friend who are publishing my first ever short story that I've had published, anywhere.

I am so proud of myself for doing this - so why would I choose any other name but my own?

Can't wait to see the printed copy with my name - Glenda Young - in the byline, printed on the page! Excited!