When I learned I was going to be published five years ago (wow, that’s crazy. Like so many things, that feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago), and I started telling people I was going to have a book coming out, one of the many questions I got that surprised me was, “Are you publishing under your real name?” My quippy answer was, “Of course, I want the three hundred people I’ve met in my life to buy my book!” But honestly, I didn’t give it any more thought than that. I mean, why wouldn’t I publish under my own name?
But I realize now, of course, that there are lots of people who do just that—publish under a pseudonym—for a myriad of reasons. It’s a question that’s been on my mind lately because my next WIP is somewhat of a departure for me. And because of that, there was talk of perhaps putting it out under a pseudonym or semi-pseudonym (anything from something completely made up to some variation of my real name like C.E. McKenzie). So, out of curiosity, I polled a couple of authors I know about why they chose to write under a different name than the one they use IRL, as the kids say. (I assume they are still saying that; I’ve been a bit out of touch these days)
The answers turned out to be varied and enlightening. One of the funniest was provided to me by Randy Susan Meyers (author of the excellent The Comfort of Lies,and the upcoming Accidents of Marriage):
I’ve never written under a pseudonym by choice . . . but I do write under another name in Britain, at the request of my UK publishers. It began when Little Brown bought The Murderer’s Daughters. They requested that the book be published under R.S. Meyers, because the slang meaning of the word “randy” in Britain translates to “of or characterized by frank, uninhibited sexuality.” Now, Simon & Schuster UK has requested that my next book, Accidents of Marriage, also be issued under R. S. Meyers.”
I couldn’t help but think that perhaps, if Randy had been writing in a different genre, her real name wouldn’t have been an issue! But I digress.
Author M.J. Rose (the critically acclaimed The Collector of Dying Breaths) has a different, but equally interesting reason for her pen name: [Read more…]