This is only my second blog post, but already I’m thinking about a pen name. Because after my first post, I Googled myself to see if this blog came up. It didn’t.
Almost all the links were for the other Kelly Andrews.
Not the one who is the head of the Green Party in Northern Ireland. I wouldn’t mind being confused with her. And not one of the 257 other women (and probably men) who share my name in the United States alone.
Kelly Andrews, the pr0n model.
I thought to choose your pr0n star name, you were supposed to take the name of your childhood pet and combine it with the first street you lived on. Turned out my real name was perfectly adequate.
I wouldn’t mind getting some extra traffic on the site from the other Kelly Andrews’s fans. This blog is new. We can't be picky about how readers find it.
But the problem goes the other way. Should I some day have future fans, they are likely to be middle-graders. And t0pl3ss photos on the search page aren’t a good way for a kid-lit writer to endear herself to parents, teachers, and librarians.
My agent tells me I shouldn’t worry about a pen name just yet. I should worry about writing books, she’ll worry about selling them, and then if I someday get a contract, we’ll think about a pen name. After all, writers potentially have longer careers than pr0n stars, so eventually my actual links may crowd hers right off the first page. And at the rate I write and this business moves, we have plenty of time.
But now I’m contemplating a change, maybe adding my husband’s name in combination, or using a made-up name. I like the sound of Kelly Andred, which is almost my name, but uses the old English word for “woods.” I came across it in The Children’s Book, which is a book about a children’s writer by my favorite grown-up author, A.S. Byatt.
It would make a great story to tell interviewers someday. Ah, someday.
Which makes me realize that my agent is probably right, as always. Thinking up pen names without a book contract is rather like filling up my notebook with doodles that read Kelly Andrews, NYT Bestselling Writer, or Kelly Andrews, Nobel Laureate – right next to where it says Mrs. Robert Pattinson. (Just kidding, silly. I would be Mrs. Taylor Lautner. )
It’s all just daydreaming. Which can be a writer's best friend, except when it's really procrastination.
But still, if I’m going to switch, might as well do it now. If I change later, I could end up confusing my tens of readers (although most of friends and family would probably figure it out).
What are your thoughts on pen names? Anybody famous (or infamous) have your name? What’s a good reason to write under an assumed name?
And in the spirit of writerly helpfulness, here is an article from Rachelle Gardner, who actually knows what she’s talking about:
Should I Use a Nom de Plume?