Many writers choose to write under a pseudonym or pen name. There are many reasons to choose to not use your real name when publishing your writing publicly. Some writers have privacy concerns. Others work in an industry or live in a community where the subject of their writing may not be deemed acceptable. Others write in very disparate genres and choose to publish their writing under different names based on the genre.
That being said, I have chosen to write under pseudonyms as well. The name I use for this blog and for the sci-fi I am writing is G. Balend, although that is not my legal name. I also write novels in a completely different genre: gay romance. I use the pseudonym Grayson Bell for these novels. The reason I’ve chosen to do this is because the target audience for these two genres are quite different.
For The Artifacts of Truth, I am targeting a much broader audience. While the novel does have a gay romance subplot, it is at its core a sci-fi novel and any romance is kept completely chaste. The same cannot be said for the gay romance novels I write as they include very steamy scenes that would not be appropriate for all readers.
Choosing a Pseudonym
When choosing a pseudonym, make sure to choose one that is easy to pronounce and still fits you as a person. If you struggle to come up with a name you’re happy with, try using online name generators and perusing surname lists.
For example, when I chose Grayson Bell, I decided I wanted the name to have the same initials as G. Balend, but I wanted it to sound masculine. My target audience for my gay romance novels are gay men and I didn’t want to put them off with a feminine name and I decided to avoid a gender neutral name as well. I looked through various male ‘G’ games until I found Grayson. It’s somewhat unique, while still having the masculine vibe I wanted.
From there I just needed to find a surname that began with ‘B.’ I had a number of options that sounded good with Grayson, so my next step was to search for several of the name pair options I came up with to make sure there were no well known Graysons, especially authors, with that surname. That’s how I finally narrowed the choice down to Grayson Bell.
Creating a Pseudonym
Once you have chosen your pseudonym, there are a few options you can consider in order to use it with your written work. Please note, this is written from the perspective of a writer living in the United States. You will need to search for the laws on how to use a pseudonym in your country as it may work differently elsewhere.
The simplest option is to use the name when you publish your works while making sure to get paid with your real name. Publishers and self-publishing services, such as Amazon KDP, will give you the option to use a pseudonym for your stories. You can even register your copyright using your legal name and provide your pseudonym when you register. There is no legal paperwork you need to fill out, however you must use © [Your Legal Name] on the copyright page.
Another option would be to register your pseudonym as a trade name or doing-business-as name with your state. This is the option I went with. As I live in Colorado, I went to the Colorado Secretary of State website and for $20 was able to register Grayson Bell as my trade name. I can now be paid as Grayson Bell without using my full legal name if I so choose. I can also use © Grayson Bell on the copyright page of my novels. This is the simplest option and doesn’t cost much time or money to set up.
Beyond that, you could form an LLC under your pseudonym. This will take more time and paperwork and will affect how you file your taxes. If you become moderately successful and begin to earn a decent income from your writing, it is a good option to consider. If you ever become very successful, on the scale of Steven King or J. K. Rowling, then upgrading your LLC to a Sub-S Corporation so you are able to hire employees would be recommended.
If you are interested in checking out my gay romance writing, please visit graysonbellauthor.wordpress.com. My first novel as Grayson Bell, Coffee-to-Go, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
One thought on “Using a Pseudonym”
Interesting article. I also use a pen name on my website. Basically due to the fact that several friends see things so differently from how I see them in the christian/religious area. If they knew the real me was writing, they would be highly offended with my views which are so different from what they once knew of me. Anyway, it was interesting reading about the reasons and purposes of using pen names.
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