What happened to the Y?
|DEADWOOD by Kell Andrews (not Kelly!)|
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As pen names go, this one isn't exactly a secret identity, but it has advantages. Kell is more gender-neutral, which is helpful since I'm trying to reach boy and girl readers with my middle-grade fiction. Kell Andrews is more unique -- I'm the only Kell Andrews in the U.S., while I'm one of 261 people (81.79% of us female) named Kelly Andrews -- not to mention Kelli, Kellie, and Kelley Andrews, and those in other countries around the world.
But the real problem was Google. Not only do other Kelly Andrews dominate, there are some that I definitely don't want to mix with on a search results page.
I'm not talking about Kelly Andrews who is the head of the Green Party in Northern Ireland. I wouldn’t mind being confused with her.
I mean Kelly Andrews, the English "glamour model" (wink, nudge), whose photos dominate the first page of Google and are definitely NSFW, and even less safe for a kidlit writer who is trying to reach 8- to 13-year-olds and their parents, teachers, and librarians.
So Kell I am, at least as far as my books go. My pen name is unique but easy. I own the domain www.kellandrews.com. It's recognizable to those who know me. And it's recognizable to ME, so that if someone calls me Kell, I don't look for someone standing behind me.
Good Reasons for Pen Names
Real name is too difficult. If your name is hard to spell, potential readers might not find you in search engines. If it's hard to say, they won't talk about you for fear of botching it.
You write in several genres. If you write in unrelated genres, like adult nonfiction and picture books, different names might allow you to distinguish your identities. This is common even with closely related subgenres, such as romance, where many writers use different names for contemporary versus historical or paranormal romances, or to indicated different heat levels.
Your day job (or your writing) is sensitive. Many writers like to keep their writing and career identities separate. This is especially common for the spicier genres.
You publish in several modes. Writers who publish with traditional presses and self-publish sometimes keep the identities separate, often for the same reasons as above.
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? Do you use your own name or another one?
And here's an article from Rachelle Gardner on this subject:
Should I Use a Nom de Plume?