10 Ways to Create a Pen Name that Works for You

There’s a lot of reasons authors choose to publish under a pseudonym: it helps them feel free to experiment, keeps their writing secret from people they know, allows them to write in different genres, makes them easier to find in search results, and helps to create a new persona that reflects their writing personality.

Let’s take a look at 10 different things to consider when creating a pen name:

  1. Your favorite authors’ names
    What do you like about them? Maybe you can pay homage with a similar first name, or formatting your pen name in the same manner (think J.K. Rowling or H.P. Lovecraft).
  2. Your favorite characters’ names
    Open it up to television and movies, as well! Fun fact: John Hughes used the character Edmond Dantes’ name from “The Count of Monte Cristo” as his pseudonym to write the screenplays for “Maid in Manhattan” and the Beethoven movies.
  3. Your role models
    Honor your icons with a middle initial or variation of their first or surname.
  4. First names that you like
    Think of it like naming a child.
  5. Surnames that you like
    Maybe you can be a Kardashian, after all.
  6. Pet names
    Are you a romance or raunchy writer? This may work well for you.
  7. Initials you like
    Create deeper meaning or play around with formatting.
  8. Literary devices
    Anagrams and alliteration are fun, playful, and roll off the tongue.
  9. Your writer persona
    Does your real name define your writing style? Do you have multiple writing personas?
  10. What you want to convey
    For murder and mystery writers, using a fiercer name may lead to more sales. This generator offers some ways to get started.


Here’s a link to a great article that discusses what to know about the copyright and legality around pen names.


Why are you considering using a pen name?


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