freelance writing job

Freelance Writer's Guide: Is It Worth Picking A Pen Name

There are many different types of writing jobs that one can consider. Some are more common than others. If you intend to write and have the opportunity to use your own name, it is usually a good idea to take it. You can build a following for yourself and make more money doing speaking engagements and other activities that require your name to be a recognizable brand.

This is not, however, always going to be the case. Here are a few situations in which it might make sense to use a nom de plume:

  • You are writing many different types of things and some are incompatible
  • People who are creative may have different outlets for their creativity. Some of these outlets may not match very well and fans of one side may be upset by the other. If you have been writing children’s books successfully for decades under your own name, it may be wise to use another if you begin to write horror novels. This can keep your fans separated.

  • Your lifestyle is not compatible with the content of your books
  • There are many people who could lose their day jobs if their writing habits were known. A preschool teacher who writes erotica for instance might find herself unemployed if the school or parents were to find out. On the other hand, someone who works as an exotic dancer might have penned several books about religious worship that would be less favorably received if her occupation were known. There have also been cases where authors who write from the perspective of an ethnicity they do not belong to choose pen names that hide this fact from readers. Many writers will admit that this practice has kept them active in the industry.

  • You would prefer not to live in the lime light
  • You may have written something beautiful and touching or profound that causes you no shame at all and still want to use a pen name. This may be because you have no desire to be famous. Being a celebrity comes with many obligations and seems to give people the idea that they can say what they like about you. The anonymity that using a sobriquet provides can be priceless.

There have been numerous other reasons for disguising one’s identity as a writer but even these three can provide a good starting point in your own journey.