Should I Use A Pen Name?

When I first starting writing seriously, I didn't know whether I should get published under a pen name (pseudonym) or my real name.

I asked one of my mentors about it, and she told me different reasons writers choose to have pen names.

So I considered it. But then I got the acceptance email of my first article on The Rebelution, and my parents said I could use my real name.

But what about you? Should you use your real name or a pen name?

Let's examine some of the pros and cons of pseudonyms!


If you are a girl, you might get married one day, and when you do, you'll change your last name to your husband's. What if you use your real name now? Will you have to change it?

Not really! Some women have gotten married after getting published under their maiden name. I know an author who still uses her maiden name as her author name.

Jaquelle Crowe Ferris is an example of using her real name. She published her book, This Changes Everything, under her maiden name, Jaquelle Crowe, because she was not married at the time. Now that she is married, she goes by Jaquelle Crowe Ferris. (She also announced her engagement and wedding on her Instagram, email list, and blog, so a lot of people were aware of the name change.)

Another pro is privacy. There are a lot of stalkers out there who will try to harm people, especially unsuspecting youth. Your parents might prefer you to use a pen name, at least for a little while. I don't think it's a terrible idea to start with a pen name and then switch to your real name. Just make sure that if/when you make the switch, you stick with it. Otherwise, people will get confused.


There are some cons to having a pen name, however.

For one thing, you're anonymous. This might be a pro in your opinion, but some will think it's a con. If you use a pen name, nobody will know your real name and who you are in real life.

If you start with a pen name, it might not be very easy to switch to your real name (just like it wouldn't be very easy switching from your real name to a pen name). It will depend on how well known you are. If you're just starting, as I stated in the last section, beginning with a pen name and switching afterward might not be a bad idea. But using a pen name in the first place is something important to consider!


Let's say you write and/or blog under your real name (or a pen name), and you wrote something that you want to publish.'re afraid that what you're saying is going to offend people. You're afraid of what they'll think of you.

So you come up with a solution: Use a different name so people don't know who you are!

Is this a good idea?

No, and here's why: You're trying to get out of responsibility.

I'm putting this example here because that was something I had considered doing. I wrote something that I wanted to submit to a website, but I was afraid of what someone I knew would think. I wanted everyone to read the article, but I didn't want to bear the responsibility of being the author of that article.

My mentor told me that if I wasn't willing to publish the article under my own name, I shouldn't publish it at all. I should take responsibility for my writing.

However, if you already have a pen name and that is what you use to write under, I think it's fine. That is your author name, after all, just like my author name is my name.

I hope you enjoyed these tips! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Do you use a pen name? Have you ever considered using one? What do you think are some other reasons that authors use pen names?



  1. Interesting! This is something I've thought about a lot when publishing poetry and essays that are very personal. Loved reading your thoughts on it - the argument about responsibility is a great point.


Copyright © 2019 Julia Nelson. Powered by Blogger.