Should You Use a Pen Name?

Creating a persona might be one way to set yourself apart



Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

“Pen names are masks that allow us to unmask ourselves” — Terri Guillemets

I’m someone who has a million book ideas and one difficulty I face is knowing which genre to write.

Lots of writing advice teaches us to pick a genre or a niche and stick with it.

In theory, it makes sense, I don’t know many children’s book authors who also pen erotic fiction. Or Science Fiction writers who are also known for their romance novellas.

That’s not to say it never happens. Some authors navigate different areas. Yet, it is rare and makes it harder to market your work and your ‘brand’.

One way to overcome the issue of wanting to write in different genres is to use a pen name. Lately, I’ve considered it more and there are a few reasons you might want to do the same:

A Pen Name is a Mask

Sometimes I shy away from writing certain topics or being too ‘honest’ in my fiction. As a writer, you draw inspiration from experiences. Many of my characters embody characteristics of people I know.

Having family and friends read work that might upset them or embarrass them is one reason a pen name is a good idea.

Writing under a pseudonym gives you freedom. It allows you to tell a story without limiting or restricting yourself.

You Can Write in Multiple Genres

The problem with having too many ideas is you can often not get anything done.

I want to write children’s books, mystery thrillers, YA fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. In trying to narrow down my interests it feels like I’m losing part of myself. I don’t want to choose a niche in fiction.

Having a pen name (or names) means you can do what you want. Write a crime novel followed by a cute children’s book, the world is your oyster.

The Self-Publishing World Gives You Options

You are no longer beholden to publishers who may or may not take on your work.




Usually writing or taking pictures — remote worker and part-time freelance tutor, editor, and writer. Following my dream to be an author