Thursday, October 22, 2009


Well, if you haven't noticed, I came out from behind my old identity of Novice Writer Anonymous.  I'm now adopting a semi-new identity.

Wait, semi-new?  Can that be right?


My name is fairly boring.  And there's this lingering worry that some might conjure up negativity when hearing my name because they don't like a certain popular series by an author whose name I feel mine is kind of similar to.  Some have assured me that it's not a worry, but it still nags.

So I added in a semi-arbitrary element to make my name stand out.

Which brings me to my discussion of pseudonyms.  After long debate, I settled on adding in the middle initial "L" to my name.  I don't have a middle name.  And I'm not married so I don't have a maiden name, I just have my name.  It's my name and I can use it if I want to, right?

I did a lot of research on pseudonyms.  The general consensus was that there are only a handful of reasons to pick a pseudonym.

1- You wrote something somewhat controversial and want to keep that from employers
2- You're genre-hopping and want to keep things separated
3- You think a pseudonym is cooler than your real name
4- You have an awful name that no one can spell, remember, or pronounce
5- You're worried about your personal safety
6- You're worried that your name is too similar to a NYT (an NYT?) bestseller
7- Your publisher is worried that a gender-specific name will alienate readers (a la J.K. Rowling)
8- You just hate your name and want to re-define yourself.
9- Your publisher decides on a pseudonym to place your title closer to a bestseller so traffic increases

For me, it was #6.  I thought about a wide variety of pseudonyms.  I have a long list of pseudonyms I could have used.  In the end, though, I just needed something that I felt could set me apart a little bit.  My mom reminded me that my dad used to call me "Stephanie Lee" just for fun.  So, I decided to incorporate that.  It just felt right and at least this way I don't have to remember to answer to a different name.

Now, once an author selects a pseudonym, that author is supposed to become that person.  No more responding to your given name when at authorly events.  You must train yourself to be the new persona.  It can be a struggle.  And then there's always the fact that in this day and age it's nigh impossible to remain completely anonymous or pseudonymous.  So, if you've picked a pseudonym for the reason that you want separation between genres or you want your identity secret because you're writing something controversial, it's unlikely to remain that way forever.  After all, there is that pesky little thing called the government that needs to keep tabs on your income.  Among other things.

Side note:  November 17th is going to be a wonderful wondrous day!!!!   Squee!!!!!!

Websites for research:


  1. Thanks for the link. Seems to be a popular topic, lol. It's definitely a hard decision.

  2. Interesting post, Stephanie. Lots of stuff to think about here.

  3. Great research Stephanie--thanks for sharing. I'm holding off on 'the big decision' for a while, it's a tough one.

    Stephanie Lee sounds good, my dad used to call me Matilda Jane, should I go with that? LOL!

    So..what's on Nov 17th???

  4. It does seem that way, Roni. I kind of giggled when I read your latest post on the matter, knowing I had a post on pseudonyms scheduled.

    Thanks, L.T.

    Thanks, Deb. It really is. I sweated over it for a long time. Matilda Jane sounds really interesting. It's got a good ring to it and it seems fairly unique.

    Nov. 7th is the DVD release of my favorite movie of the year.

  5. Well, crap. I have an awful name no one can pronounce or spell. And I've never thought about writing under another one.

    Le sigh.

  6. Yes, a popular topic, indeed. Did I miss something? What is Novermber 17th?

  7. I think Stephanie Lee has a great ring to it! I can understand your reservations about using your full name since it's so close to the other author's name. Pseudonyms are always fun and it's good that you're choosing one close to your full name. I'm sure you've heard of the author AVI - to this day I still don't know whether he (or she?) just used their initials or what, but it's so nice, short, and easy to remember. Too bad all my initials are consonants.

  8. What a special new name, I hope you enjoy reinventing yourself! November 17?! That is my husband's birthday so it is a special day indeed.

    I thought early on about working under a different and after reading a post from Rachelle Gardner, decided I didn't fall under any of the categories that deemed it necessary of productive.

  9. I think your name is great, Elana. But if you want to publish under a pseudonym, it's your choice.

    Susan, it's just me being silly. Star Trek comes out on DVD on the 17th. It was my favorite movie of the year so I'm just a wee bit excited.

    Thanks, Julie.

    Thanks, Tamika. I like your name and think it's a good, unique moniker to publish under.

  10. I missed Star Trek in the theatre, so I'm looking forward to Nov. 17 too.

  11. Speaking as someone who's written under at least 5 different names, only some of which I've invented myself...
    I agree with Julie Dao - I think Stephanie Lee has a nice ring and great rhythm. A multisyllable with a monosyllable - you could be any genre you want with that name. Plus it's personal to you. I'd vote for that one. Happy rebirthday!

  12. Thanks for stopping by Melane! Star Trek was very good.

    Thanks, DWC.

  13. That was a research well done!
    I have no qualms about my real name but I've started blogging under my nickname (that no one ever uses). That's not the same as adopting a pseudonym is it?

  14. Thanks, Bee. I think it would only become a pseudonym if you decided that you would publish under that nickname. But that's just my opinion so take it for what it's worth.

  15. I like Stephanie L. McGee. Very nice. And I like Elana's name too! What's November 17th?! It sounds exciting!

    This IS a hot topic this week. I announced I changed my writing name too! :)

  16. Thanks, Dawn. Nov. 17 is just the day my favorite movie of the year hits shelves.


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