Pen-Names: Your Personal Brand


Candy Cane and Cookie Crumb attended my high school in suburban Pennsylvania. The girls spelled their names with more flourish than the letters I used here, and Candy’s legal name was Candice, but the consequences of their too-sweet identities remained the same—no one took them seriously. Despite good looks and stellar academic achievements, the girls remained the brunt of jokes throughout their teen years. Rumor had it Cookie got married right after graduation just for the name change.
When the time came for me to choose a pen name after I sold my first book in 2006, I remembered how Candy’s and Cookie’s names undermined their abilities. Any temptation I might have had to adopt something quirky disappeared as I considered my choices.
My publisher advised me to be original without being complicated. “People aren’t going to find you or your books if they can’t [easily] look you up online, or they keep saying to themselves, ‘What was that author’s name?’ Many adult readers also consider single-name pen names to be pretentious or silly—there are people who will not read these authors.”

Read the entire article in the March 2018 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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