Some More On Pen Names…
A friend wrote me and pointed out that I was a little harsh on not needing pen names in the indie world in a recent post. He reminded me that there are many reasons to use pen names, something I know and tell people all the time.
Reasons to use pen names in indie…
- You write erotica and other stuff. Keep the erotica under a pen name.
- You are a doctor or some such thing in real life and don’t want the fact that you write fiction out to your clients.
- You work in law enforcement or law and write mystery or crime or thriller. Yeah, might want a pen name.
- Your name is the same as a big name writer or movie star or some such bad luck. Change your name, don’t fight that fight.
Being afraid of what your family might say or other baseless fears is not a reason to hide your work behind a pen name. That will certainly cause issues in the future.
Things to think about with a pen name…
- When you decide on a pen name, research it to make sure no one else is using it.
- Make sure you don’t mind using he pen name and being called by that name in public.
- Get a DBA form from your state or government and set up a bank account with that name.
The reason for using a pen name in indie publishing is all personal, unlike the business reasons we had to use pen names in traditional publishing.
For years I have been trying to track down all my pen names and get them on a list.
Here is some of the names I have written and published books and stories under at one point or another over the last 49 years.
- Dean Wesley Smith (my real name)
- Dean Smith
- Dean W. Smith
- Wesley Dean
- David Wesley
- Edward Taft
- D.W. Smith
- D.W. Schofield
- D.W. Woodhead
- Sandy Schofield (with Kris, about ten novels like Aliens and such.)
- Kathryn Wesley (with Kris, about ten novels like The Tenth Kingdom and Trek.)
- Eric Kotoni (A Star Trek book I wrote under his name from an idea he had and he forced Pocket to put my name on the inside so it broke the NDA.)
- Johnathan Frakes (A science fiction novel I wrote under his name and he forced Tor to put my name on the inside so it broke the NDA.)
- Fred Stoeker (A thriller I wrote under his name and he forced Random House to put my D.W. Smith name on the cover so it broke the NDA.)
- D.W. “Prof” Smith (A Captain Proton full pulp novel I wrote to honor E. E. “Doc” Smith’s writing style for Pocket Books. Also wrote a couple short stories under that name for Amazing Stories.)
- Ray Hamil (A pulp story I wrote for Pocket Books to honor Raymond Hamilton.)
- Don Simster (Another pulp story I wrote for Pocket Books to honor different pulp writer’s styles.)
- At least a half dozen novels more I can’t claim due to NDA.
And I am convinced I have forgotten a number of the names I could tell you if I could only remember to write them down when I run across them. Gaming novels and such. Ahh, well. Enough for now.
Not bad off the top of my head since at the moment I can’t find my pen name list. Sigh…