What’s in a name?


Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.


Do you use or have you considered using different pen names for different genres of your writing?.


You would think I’d be an ideal candidate for multiple pen names, as I write in several genres, Sci-fi, Steampunk, Cozy Crime, Fantasy and Psychological Thrillers.

And I can see the logic in doing it, to a certain extent.

But I don’t. I’m Richard Dee (which is already a pen name) in all of them.

Here’s why.

Back in 2016, when I had written two Sci-fi books and was in the process of completing my first Steampunk adventure, I asked for opinions on this very topic at the writer’s group I had recently joined.

One of the more experienced members, who wrote in multiple genres and had several pen names, told me not to bother.


She explained her reasoning like this.


You need to keep each persona separate and keep track of it all. Every pen name requires its own unique social media profile and webpage, blog content, a mailing list and a newsletter. It will probably have a dedicated email address as well.

Multiply that by three or four and you have created so much extra work for yourself. Even though the amount of content you post is the same, you now have to go to more than one place to post, answer comments and housekeep everything. It takes longer to keep it all up to date. That’s time that could be spent on other things, such as writing more stories.

I remember asking if it might not be better to keep the readers of each genre segregated. Again, she disagreed. She had found that a lot of her readers had come from one genre to try another, knowing that the author, whose writing style they already liked, was the same person.

Not long after this conversation, she had new covers done. I noticed that the new ones all have the author noted as *****, writing as *****.


Because of what she told me that day, I’ve kept everything under one name. Like her, I’ve also found that quite a few people who’ve read one of my genres will often try another, without any prompting from me. If they had not made the connection and thought the books were by two different people, they may not have.


What do you think?

As a writer, do you keep separate pen names?

Or, if you’re a reader, would you be prepared to try a different genre from an author you know and already like?

Let me know below.

Then, please check out what my fellow writers have to say about this week’s topic.


Until next time.



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14 Responses

    • Richard Dee

      I can understand that. I chose my pen name because it took up less space on a book cover.

      • Lela Markham

        Same issue here, Richard. My “real” first name (that I don’t even use in my private life) is weird and my married last name is hard to spell while my maiden last name is a very boring signature, so I chose a pen name from a college nickname someone laid on me (that I also don’t use in my private life) and a family name with literary cache — the poet Edwin Markham (who was a US poet laureate) was a second-cousin to my grandmother.

        • Richard Dee

          Nice backstory. I have none of that, Richard Dee is simply a lot neater on a cover.

  1. Lela Markham

    My husband is related to an unintentionally famous person who said “Don’t let them know your real identity”, which is why I use a pen name. But multiples would just be too much. It’s not like people couldn’t find the “real” me if they really wanted to, but that they’d have to know I don’t want them on my front lawn — where it’s -25’F right now and 4 feet deep in snow, so there’s that too.

    • Richard Dee

      My real name isn’t a secret but as an introvert, I’d rather make it easier to live in anonymity.

  2. Nathan

    I don’t use a pen name, but if I did it would only be so that close family and friends wouldn’t know who wrote the books because it would probably be filled with foul language or smut, which I don’t typically do. And if I did use one, I’d choose Ima Ryder.

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