Monday, April 4, 2011

The Pen Name Game

I posted on this a few weeks ago, I think. Back then, I was trying to decide if I needed to use pen names for my other genres or not. And I finally decided that yes, I do.


Well, for me it wasn't because I didn't want Audience A to know that I also write Genre B. In fact, on all my websites under my various names (and yes, I have a website for each one) I specifically mention the other genres and names I go by, with links to the other sites.

But because my audiences are so vastly different (non-fiction, YA novels, and picture books) I wanted to make it as easy as possible for each audience to find the book they are after. If I were to write all these genres under my own name, I could have a student looking for an essay guide but finding only picture books or a mom looking for a fun picture book but finding only YA novels.

With a pen name for each genre, this won't happen. My moms and kids can find all my picture books under the name Michelle Raynor; my YA audience can find all my novels under the name MacKenna Marquis; and my non-fiction peeps can find all my educational NF under my real name, Michelle McLean. (Click on the links if you want to check out my websites under each name) :)

How did I come up with these names? Well, my own name is just my name :D The name Raynor is a mixture of the letters in my children's names. And I wanted to use my maiden name (Michelle Marquis) for my third name, but another writer is already using that as her pen name. So...I borrowed my niece's name (MacKenna) and kept my maiden last name to create MacKenna Marquis :)

Do any of you write under a pen name? Would you? If you do, how did you come up with your name?


Slush said...

Definitely write under a pen name. My purposes are a little different. Mainly I just want to keep this part of me seperate from the day job. It also allows me to open up a little more.

The name was a combination of a family last name and the name I developed for a character in a story around 10 years ago.

Kat Harris said...

I've considered it because my name is so common, but I haven't come up with anything I like yet.

Stephanie McGee said...

I've thought about it, especially because I always thought I'd be a YA writer and, well, my name is pretty similar to another YA writer that's pretty hot lately.

But then I realized I can't write YA. I just can't get the voice. My characters always come off much older than they are, if they're anywhere near YA in age. So I decided it didn't matter, I could write under my own name.

I might, however, grab a pen name if I find myself writing more and more romance. Just to separate the romance from the fantasy that is my main love.

Matthew MacNish said...

Very cool names, I like it!

Lindsay said...

Very cool names. I've considered a pen name, but only because my surname is a common one here in the UK. But I think it will depend how I feel at the time. lol.

shah wharton said...

I've never thought of it! Though I can see why you have Michelle. I'm very open on my blog and occasionally I've mentioned things which I feared my mom might feel upset about but she doesn't even know how to visit the blog. I'm writing my first novel which is fiction and although there will be sex scenes in it it certainly won't be erotica (though I've no issue with it or reading it at times - I just couldn't write those kind of scenes - blush!)- If I did write erotica I might use another name, just in case my husbands rather conservative family found out. Shah. X