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Should You Use A Pen Name?
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writing under a pen nameWhen you start submitting articles, you will need to decide on an author name.

You have two options:

1) Your real name.

You would use your real name if you have no other reason for changing it, or if you would like to become known as an expert in your niche.

Using your real name adds a level of authenticity that a pen name sometimes misses.

If you do use a pen name, it’s a good idea to try to make it sound real.

2) A pen name

A pen name (aka alias), is a fictional name adopted by an author.

Here are some reasons why authors use pen names:

*To be more memorable. Maybe your real name is very common and you’d like to have a name that stands out more.

*To come across as being a person of the opposite sex.

*To differentiate other writings you may have done on other topics.

*To avoid overexposure.

*Your name may happen to be the same as that of a well known writer (Stephen King, Mark Twain, etc), and you may change your name so as not to confuse readers.

*For some reason you want to conceal your identity.

In article marketing, there is nothing wrong with using a pen name if you feel so inclined.

If you decide to use a pen name, keep these guidelines in mind:

*As I said before, it helps to make your pen name sound like a real name, rather than an obviously fake one.

*Use a first name and a last name.

*Avoid silly names. If your name sounds like a cartoon character or some kind of alter ego or computer avatar (Mr. Zebra, Party Animal, Website Guru, Cupcake Girl, etc), it can make it hard for a reader to take you seriously. Remember, you are writing educational articles, and your goal is to provide helpful information to your target market.

*Don’t try to play a name off of your topic–like if you’re writing about “Lord of the Rings”, using a name like Frodo Hobbit is a bit too obvious.

*Do not try to morph your business name into a pen name. I’ve seen folks try to do this, and it is not very subtle and it doesn’t sound like a real name at all. It can also get your article declined for being promotional.

*A website addy is not a pen name, so you can’t say that your pen name is or anything like that.

What is a good pen name?

A name that sounds real. Use a first and last name.

If you have no real reason to use a pen name, then use your real name. The choice is up to you!

Photo by pareeerica

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26 Responses to “Should You Use A Pen Name?”

  1. Sean Durrant says:

    I feel happier if people use their real names.

    It’s not only nice to know who you are dealing with but additionally it shows me the other person has some faith in themselves.

  2. Peter Nisbet says:

    I am an article ghostwriter, and am often asked to submit the articles I write for my customers. Those directories that don’t permit pen names are a pain, because I cannot submit under my customer’s name.

    I also run a number of businesses, and don’t always want to use my real name in them all, so I write some of my own stuff using a different name to my professional writing name.

    It’s not always as clear-cut as some appear to believe.

  3. bryant suggs says:

    At this point and time , I’m comfortable using my real name. I can also see reasons why some people may want to use a pen name

  4. I wish I had read this a year ago when I launced a retail website in the womens designer luxury niche. Also I think over exposure is another reason why a pen name can come in handy. As entrepreneurs who have our hands in different pots, using your real name can lead to customers thinking you’re a jack of all trades and not a specialist. Like Peter mentioned in the comment above, it can be a pain in the posterior quadrant submitting to article directories that don’t allow different names. I guess a way around this would be to open multiple accounts.

    Thanks for sharing

  5. You can’t always use your real name is you’re writing articles on various topics and promoting lots of different products and services. You might be an internet marketer and let’s say you’re promoting a bacterial vaginosis product, which has nothing to do with internet marketing. I think it’s best to keep those two separate and use a pen name for the latter.

  6. Paul Tooley says:

    I use pen names for branding. When I am writing about health I use one name, but if I am writing about Affiliate Marketing I use another, that way people will associate the name with the brand of articles I write. Hopefully they will be of such quality that I the name will stick.


  7. Bill says:

    One of the topics I will be writing on is a woman’s item and I can see the comfort factor if I assume a woman’s pen name. A pen name is an absolute necessity. With the ability of people to gather information on someone I try to conceal my address and other personal information as much as possible. The world is not what it once was.

  8. Terra Mar says:

    I go back and forth. I have reasons for using a pen name. Some of the topics I write on like going through crisis or cancer I prefer to do under a pen name. But then I miss my given name. Sigh. Double edged pen?

  9. I also use my real name for my businesses.

    I use my second name as a pen name for some niches because I don’t want people who are in these niche to find me as an Internet marketer… for obvious reasons.

    the Body Guard marketer

  10. Kris Varma says:

    When writing on a subject one is professionally or personally familiar with, I believe that one should put their real name to the article.

    However, when writing something that they have researched and written out of interest or to create a revenue stream, etc, one could consider using a pen name.

  11. I wrote from the age of 16 until I was 46 years old under a pen name which even my children and closest family members still, to this day, don’t know. I have loved the anonimity that came with this. I could be as controversial as I wanted to in my writing and never have to worry about backlash. It was great.

    The first time I published under my real name, my email box flooded with people who wanted to argue, or voice differing opinions.

    If you want privacy, pen names are a great way to go.

    James C. Tanner

  12. Marcia says:

    Another reason someone (particularly internet marketers) might want to use a pen name is to keep others from finding what hot niches they are in.I plan to do this in some niches I’m working on now.

  13. Lian Vaiphei says:

    As an Internet marketer, I try to maintain flexibility. I don’t concentrate on a particular niche.

    Using a pen name and establishing an expert status on the niches I am involved in comes off quiet handy.

    Lian Vaiphei

  14. Jonathan says:

    A pen name can be a great idea. I use them if I am writing about a topic that is not my core. There are certain topics that I want to be known for, i.e., marketing,consulting,etc. I run websites in various niches and use a pen name on them. You can’t tell, it is a “real” sounding name, I even have an email address set up and reply as that identity if you write to me. I just don’t want my real name associated with these sites, they are all legitimate and sell quality products, but before long I will sell the sites and don’t want my name on them.

  15. Dax L'Amour, Ph.D says:

    If you’ve been published and sold many books previously…and had a group of money-grubbing
    relatives…or an ex.. knocking down your door for a “piece of the action”, then it
    might be a good idea to make a run with a pen name, just to see if they pick up on it.

    If not, then you have a clear road ahead with no one
    phoning or visiting wanting a “share” of your efforts.

  16. David Walshe says:

    The main reason I use a pen name is because I’m writing for multiple sites across many different subjects.

    To me, a different name is a must to establish and maintain credibility. Readers will be doubtful if you try to position yourself as an expert across multiple topics.

  17. I my self am about to set up another niche site and will be using a pen name. I don’t see a real problem behind a pen name. If you have many sites running different businesses then you may want to keep your own identity a secret.

    It is the person behind the business that should care about the customer not the name. If the customer is treated right then it should not really matter what they are called. Unless of course the pen name is offensive or not appropriate.


  18. Joy Healey says:

    I write in several different niches and have made the mistake of NOT using a pen-name. I wish I could turn back the clock :-)


  19. If your real name is on your website or is part of the name of your website, and you are linking to that website, it would then make no sense to use a pen name for the article that links to your website!

  20. Donna Bush says:

    I have always used my own name but after reading this article I thank that I might use a pen name on some of my articles.
    I thank it will be a good test just to see what happens.


  21. Ozcan says:

    I can add another 2 points to already a great identicle.

    1. Another good point to add to the list perhaps maybe to stop identity thieves from knowing too much about the real you

    2. This second point deals with people who write articles to drive traffic to their niche website that show 3rd part ads and anytime someone clicks on ad on that website the owner of the site gets a little commission. So, its to protect those owner-sites from loosing their accounts with ad companies.

  22. Aaron Siegel says:

    I have never had an article declined while using my business name as the pen name. I think it’s far more important that your article content be of good quality than the quality of a pen name.

  23. David Ashton says:

    I believe if you become really famous then a pen name would be ideal.

    If you have several websites and they all offer different services then it can confuse some as some can’t believe people can multitask and be good at several things at the same time.

    Thanks for the tips.

  24. Gail says:

    Some interesting food for thought here.

  25. Winn says:

    This is a great example of how a good post can present ideas, foster discussion, and end up with a rich mix of content from diverse readers who share common concerns. Nice!

  26. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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