September 2, 2016

Pen Names

Early on, before finishing the first draft of my first book, I knew I didn't want to use a pen name. I've stuck to this decision so far, but after doing some research on my name, I thought I might have to.

At first, I wanted my work to be discoverable by friends and family. Everyone that I've ever known should go out and buy my books! Of course, the flaw in this plan is that they still won't know that I wrote a book until I somehow communicate this information to them. Or maybe some stalker types my name into Google and will find the books I've written. But honestly, I'd like this future stalker to buy my book as well.

After using "Elizabeth Martin" on all my queries and submissions, I decided to check and make sure there wasn't another already published author using my name. I found four. They write in a variety of genres, none in science fiction. But once I ask people to look up my book, I don't want them to type my name and buy the first novel that comes up... which probably won't be mine (at least at first).

Next, I checked variations of my name, and everything was either already taken or very similar to another author. I don't want to use a pen name dissimilar to my name. I know it says Victoria Smitherson is the author, but I swear I actually wrote it!

I kept looking up variations of my name and potential pen names until I finally checked my nickname, "Beth".  Although it doesn't have enough characters to stretch across the width of a paperback cover, it is easy to remember. And that will be important when I meet new people and network, and tell them to check out my novel. Just search my name-- it will be the top result.

At least that's the plan for now. I'm still waiting to hear back from a few more publishers.

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