So you've written a novel, your story is your pride and joy! It's been edited within an inch of it's life and now you're ready to start querying or self-publishing, but who's name going on the cover? Now I know you're sitting there thinking, well my name does Rhianne, but how does it appear? Why aren't you using a pen name? There a lots of possibilities that you've never even thought about. I'm here to help you choose a name you can be happy with.
Using Your Name
There are so many possibilities when using your own name. Do you use initials, full name, or include your middle name? Bet you never even thought about those did you? Those pesky middle names, some of have them, like me, and some people don't like one of my oldest friends. She's not an author though. So let's use this made up name - Gemma Charlotte Miller. The different ways of using it on the front of a book could be as follows;
- Gemma Charlotte Miller
- Gemma C. Miller
- Gemma Miller
- G. C. Miller
- G. Miller
Of course the name you use is completely up to you, why not try it out with this worksheet?
Use a Pen Name
Pen Names are common as well. Some writers don't want their names all over the world on the front of a cover. Personal reasons, and their pasts usually contribute to this, or it's when a writer wants to publish in multiple genre's. As some people have told me, using the same name in multiple genres can be good or bad. If it's not as good as the first book in say a fantasy genre, your romance novel could be a flop, do you want that flop to have your name?
This name generator, if mainly for a bit of fun, but it can also help you find a pen name that's close to your name. Or not if thats not what you want. Still want some more fun? Or do you want to compile a list of names for future use, this name generator has everything from random names, to vampire names!
Wait. I've gone off track. Back to using pen names. Of course the pro's of using a pen name is that no-one will know it was you that published the book, except the people you tell (or if you do book signings) but the cons mean it can be difficult to get paid for them, usually the name has to match the bank account and with pen names that can be a hard thing to do.
Sometimes you'll need to use another variation of your name, or a pen name, if you wish to switch publishers, of course this is only if the contract is still valid with a current publisher. Another reason to use a pseudonym is if the first book bombed and you want to try again, a new name means a new start.
I chose my author name as R.S. Williams because I felt it was right. I loved the way it sounded. All my names are long and have too many letters to be on the front of a book. Whatever you decide just make sure that your GUT absolutely LOVES the name you choose. If you don't love it you'll regret it.
Leave the names you've chosen down in the comments so I can go and hunt for your books! Comment below with how you came to choose that name too!