Until just recently, I used the pen name Tiana Lei (Lei is my middle name). I know the switch has caused some confusion, so (since this is my blog and I can do whatever I want) I decided to write about pen names today, or if you want to sound fancy, nom de plumes. <–We could all use a little more fancy in our lives.
Originally, I used Lei instead of Smith because I thought my married name was a little too boring and … NORMAL. That was my only reason. (Stephenie Morgan probably thought the same thing–but Stephenie Meyer doesn’t seem too much more original, so I don’t know why she used a pen name.)
I just wanted a name that sounded cooler. I tried to pretend like I had better reasons for it: “I don’t want to get confused with all the other Smith’s,” “I want to keep my personal life separate from my writing life,” “I want to ‘recognize’ my parents and my husband when I become famous one day,” etc. These were all EXCUSES, not REASONS.
- It’s nearly impossible in today’s day and age to keep your personal life separate from your writing life. With the Internet permeating everything we do, people could find out practically anything about me.
- I’m pretty sure that no one will confuse me with other Smith’s. My first name is Tiana for crying out loud.
- While I do want to recognize the effect (or is it affect? I never can tell…) my parents and my husband had on my writing journey, I’m pretty sure I can do that with a book dedication.
By using my real name, it will cause less confusion in the long run, and then I won’t have to keep explaining how to pronounce both parts of my name. I’ll still have to deal with people calling me Tee-anne-uh, rather than Tee-on-uh, but I’m used to that.
Pretty much, I’ve decided that pen names don’t do any good, unless your name sounds like someone else famous and you are trying to avoid that. **Edited note – people have pointed out some good reasons in the comments, check them out. Though interestingly, a lot of the reasons are tied to writing Romance novels, which I don’t write.**
Do you use your real name with your writing? I’m curious to see why you do or don’t. Do you agree with my reasoning?