Have you ever wondered why authors use pseudonyms? There are a wide variety of very good reasons that we’ll explore in this two part series, starting with the first two which affect me.
The Name Is:
When your name is too common, it not only gets lost in the crowd, but chances are that there are other authors with the same name. Hence, the reason I chose not to write as Karen Fischer. There is another. I chose to write under my maiden name, Karen Van Den Heuvel, which is a pseudonym since it is no longer my legal name. It is unique, I could find no other author with the same name, and I actually like my given name. But alas, this brings us to the second reason.
Too Long and Difficult to Spell
What I did not consider was the fact that not only is Karen Van Den Heuvel a long name, but it is difficult to pronounce and spell — the reason I chose another name for my website (I had one too many people being taken to someone else’s website by mistake when trying to come to mine). Although you can still find me at www.KarenVanDenHeuvel.com, it redirects to something everyone can spell, www.LoveBooksandBling.com. I recently made the decision, to continue to write my romantic suspense under a new pseudonym. As my readers, I’d love your input, so I’ll share my thoughts at the end of this article.
Unfortunately, sexist views on gender still exist. There are men who write romance, but in order to sell their books, they need to write under a female pseudonym. The same goes for women who venture into an area typically controlled by men. They need to either write under a pseudonym or use initials to mask their gender.
A writer I personally know, won the contract to write, Cry of the Dove. ABC studios thought that she shouldn’t be immediately identifiable as a woman writer due to the intense scenes of prison and war. They felt as a woman, she would be dismissed. She used her initials to mask the fact that she was a woman. Fortunately her initials worked well with her last name, L.A. Sartor. If you haven’t read one of her books, I highly recommend you check her out at https://lesliesartor.com. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop.
In closing, I will bring you back to the use of a new pseudonym for my fiction. I need a pseudonym I can:
- relate to
- answer to (in public signings, author gatherings, etc.)
- won’t get lost in the crowd,
- is easy to spell,
- short in length, and
- bold to attract my readers.
For me, this was a struggle, so I brought my predicament to my writers group. Leslie Sartor made the initial suggestion, followed by the buy-in of others, but as my readers, I would love your thoughts on this potential pseudonym: Karen Vann
It is an abbreviated part of my name used by my father’s patients for decades so I can relate to it and will answer to it, and there are no other authors with that name.
What do you think about the name, Karen Vann?
© 2019 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer