The Benefits of Freedom – How to Pick a Pen Name That Works.

Recently, I have been experimenting with pen names. At first, I thought it was a bad idea– I thought it would just be a distraction from what I really want to do.

(Hey, is that a click-bait headline? I thought I’d give it a go. Alas, like most click-bait, it is a bit of a lie. Stop reading. Go back to work.)

But then I gave it a bit of thought and decided that there is freedom in hiding behind someone else. History is littered with authors hiding behind fake names. Mark Twain, anyone?

So I gave it a go… I didn’t like it! Now I have a choice between writing under James Scholes, or writing under my pen name. That decision alone gave way to serveral canceled projects, and then there was the extra stress of deciding which ‘brand’ to focus on (I use that term loosely, but surely a pen name is a brand for me.)

So now I’m at the other end, and I plan to focus on  me for a while. I might go back, but I’m not sure. It’s not as though my novels are setting the world on fire. 

For those interested, the pen name I chose was Max Dranke. The astute amongst you will realise that it is very close to Max  Drake  and that Amazon’s auto-correct always takes searchers to the wrong name. So, there’s a tip! If you are going to go to the effort of creating a fake name, chose one that is:

  1. Easy to spell.
  2. Unique enough that you won’t be corrected to something else.

And otherwise, have fun with it! Just because it didn’t work for me (yet) doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, and it can be a great way to test what doesn’t work without staining your own legacy. After all, we all write crap sometimes!


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