August 10, 2015 at 10:20 am

The Writer’s Circle recently posted an article on some famous authors and their pseudonyms. It made for interesting reading. The article is here if you’d like to read it.

I think the only one I’d heard of in a significant way was JK Rowling’s, especially seeing as it happened since I became a published author. But the others weren’t that familiar to me, and in spite of enjoying his books, I never knew what Dr Seuss’ full name was. It was nice to discover that ‘Seuss’ was actually part of his name. It would have seemed odd if he was really Fred Smith, or something like that. Although, if it was Fred Smith, I can understand why he thought a name like Seuss would be more memorable!

When my debut novel was accepted for publication, I gave serious consideration to writing under a pseudonym, but decided against it. While it can be useful for reasons of anonymity, I wanted to see my real name on my books. Another driving force was the fact that I already had my real name ‘out there’ in the writing world. As Lynne Stringer, or Lynne Bennett (my maiden name), as I was for one of them, I won two journalistic awards from my days as a journalist and editor. I’d also written a screenplay under my real name, so there didn’t seem to be much point in inventing a nom de plume for my fiction. It seemed a better idea to link them all.

Amongst all my author friends, as far as I know, only one writes under a pseudonym. I don’t know her reasons for doing it, and I sometimes wonder what they are. Was it for reasons of anonymity? That’s definitely one that I think most likely; to keep your personal self and your public persona separate. I’m not sure what other reasons authors might have these days. I know that Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot) chose her name because she believed she would not be taken seriously as a writer if people knew she was a woman. This was also one of the reasons why Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte chose Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell as their pseudonyms (although they were also motivated by the desire for privacy). I hope that’s not required by female authors these days, although perhaps it is in certain genres.

Are you an author? Do you write under your real name or a pseudonym? Why did you choose to do that? Are you a reader? What do you think of authors using pseudonyms? Leave a comment in the comment section below and let me know.

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