Thursday, February 2, 2012

That's Me! Well, Sort Of

Recently, over on my favorite site, yeah, you know the One, I asked another member, Calista Taylor, a few questions in regards to pen names. She gave me some helpful advice that I thought I would share. Let me start from the beginning, kinda...

When I was younger, I hated my name. I always said I would change it legally when I grew up. I never did, but throughout my life, I always had some sort of nickname. People often tried to convince me that I was ridiculous and my name was pretty, I never came to the same feelings. When I decided to be a writer, I also decided I would use a pen name. So I started thinking about some options.

(Before I continue, if you are wanting to use a pen name, and need some tips- Go Here. And do it even if you don't think you need the tips, you may learn something)

My first mission when I was trying out my options, was to Google different names I thought of. Each name that came to mind brought up countless hits on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. That is of course, a no no. I began getting silly with it, just hoping that I would come up with something. Eventually, I created a name. I went to all my top search engines and typed in the name....
NADA! Which in turn means, BINGO!

The pen name was selected, and it was a winner, so I sat it aside and went on with my writing journey. I set up a new email account to use for my writer-related things, set up my blog, got my Twitter, joined AgentQueryConnect and QueryTracker, and added my facebook account to all of my sites. I was set, ready to go. Diving into the world of writers and all things writer related. Well, except I used my real name on all those things, huh.

I got to thinking about the fact that here I am networking myself, as myself, when I plan to sell books as someone else. That's when I decided to talk to Cali.

I asked her if I should go back in and change all my accounts from real name to pen name? Should I have social media sites that are my pen name? And should I make an email for my pen name as well? She said, I should if I'm wanting to use those sites for promoting my writer self. Since that's the plan, I changed everything to my pen name. Another piece of advice she gave me? It's okay to have two accounts, one for personal and one for writer.

Recently, I asked her two more things, and this may just be something I wondered about. But I asked if her family and non-writer friends call her by her real name, or her pen name. And if it was hard for her to get accustomed to using her pen name. (My reason for the latter, is that I had to and am still adjusting to using my pen name vs my real one.) In response to the family/friend question she said that since most of her family and friends are people who knew her prior to having a pen name, or are people in a more formal setting where her real name is required-that they call her by her real name. And about the difficulty of transitioning to using the pen name? She said that since she never really cared for her real name, and especially since she tends to use Cali rather than Calista, it was an easy transition.

As I said, some or even all of the questions I asked may not be something anyone is curious about, but I was and I thought I would share for anyone who may wonder. Any nickname I have used over the years, would not fit as my pen name, so I made up a new one. But because I have used nicknames, that's sort of what it's like for me-my pen name is just a nickname. It makes it easier for me to begin adapting to the change. Of course, like Cali, my family still calls me by my real name-in fact some of them find it a little funny that I'm even using a pen name at all. I say, search my real name, and you will understand. (My real name comes up with more people who aren't me than I even thought possible. Ironic that a name I grew up disliking, is so popular...)

Do you use a pen name?  If so, is it easy or hard for you? Do you network with your pen or your real name-or both? Does anyone who is not a writer friend call you by your pen name?

Happy Penning :)

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