So I'm working away at the Elsie W. books and my mother, who always gives me such clear minded advice when it comes to my writing, suggested I use a pen name just to protect myself from lawsuits.
I've scrubbed the manuscript free of any actual location names, any real person's name, or any name of any real company. The only real things in the book are the actions and my name. And since my name, Sarah, is sort of forever tied to my blog, It Can Only Happen To Sarah!, I'm thinking I can't very well change my first name on the cover of the book.
But the use of a pen name has always intrigued me. When I started writing, back at the dawn of time, I thought all authors used a pen name, so I created mine. It was, shall we say, exactly what a thirteen year old girl who was clueless about everything would think a cool pen name should be. (I won't say it here....you never know I may want to use it some day!)
Since I've been writing seriously now for a few years, I realized that many authors use their own names, and some don't, for a myriad of reasons. I know if I ever did delve into the world of the erotic, I would have to change my name just because my mother wouldn't be able to show her face at church. (And I wouldn't either, for that matter...oh, and how creepy would it be if someone from my church did show up at a book signing for my mythical erotic book...and then realized I teach her kids in Sunday school? Who would be more creeped out? It's one of those circular arguments I tend to start with myself.) But I've never released a book that isn't fiction.
|Just a rough look at an idea I had for the title...|
and the pen name.
Believe me, the Elsie W. books are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Except I don't use anyone's real first name...except mine, and I don't give out specific locations.
So would writing under a name that's not mine be a smart thing to do? Am I hiding my real self from critics, or is it a good marketing tool, to separate the creative nonfiction/humor side of my work from the fiction side?
Would using a pen name for something that's real be a cowardly move? Should I stamp my name on my real name on my books and weather whatever storms may gather?
I'd love to hear your comments!