Maybe your last book didn’t do so well, for instance. You might want to ditch the sales history by starting fresh under a new name. Some writers prefer to write their naughty stories under a pen name. Dean Wesley Smith wrote an article on pen names that gives a brief history of pen names and expands on the many reasons a writer might choose to use one.
So far, I have only one pen name: Emma Faraday. And it’s clearly not a secret. I decided to create a pen name to keep the different genres in which I write separate. Under Emma Faraday, I publish science fiction and fantasy. Under Marcelle Dubé, I publish mostly mystery. Using different names gives the reader a clue to the kind of story he or she can expect. That way, a reader looking for some of my fantasies won’t pick up one of my mysteries by mistake and be disappointed.
Writers, do you use pen names (that you’re willing to divulge)? Readers, are you aware of all the pen names of your favourite writers?
Below, I’ve compiled a quick list of pen names and the real names of the writers. Feel free to add to it!
Pen Name Real Name
Acton Bell Anne Brontë
Currer Bell Charlotte Brontë
Ellis Bell Emily Brontë
Boz Charles Dickens
Lewis Carroll Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
Richard Castle Richard Alexander Rodgers
George Eliot Mary Ann Evans
O. Henry William Sydney Porter
Hergé Georges Remi (Belgian writer/artist of the Tintin series)
George Orwell Eric Arthur Blair
Lewis Padgett Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (husband and wife team of SF writers)
J.D. Robbs/Jill March Nora Roberts
Lemony Snicket Daniel Handler
Barbara Vine Ruth Rendell