How to Select the Perfect Pen Name for Your Books

For most authors, using the name you were born with (or your married name) will do just fine. There’s no reason to overthink it, or to engage in the duplication of effort that goes with having a different name on your books than you have on your tax returns.

That said, sometimes a pen name is a good thing, even a necessary thing. If you’re in one of those situations, you should not undertake this project lightly or hastily. Instead, follow each of the three steps below carefully. You’ll come out the other side with a pen name that works, and will continue to work for you throughout your writing career.

Step One: Find Out if You Need a Pen Name

Generally speaking, don’t get a pen name if you just want a pen name. It takes up time and energy you could use writing and promoting your book. However, here are some reasons you might want to take on a pseudonym: