Questions about using a pen name?

I'm planning on using a pen name when I become a published author but my question is do you put your pen name in your query letters? Also can you use your pen name in all writing contests, I know the ones Writer's Digest have are okay with it but what about others?


Talia- I know that but I like being optimistic which is why I write words like "when" and NOT "if." I've always found saying things like if is just being self defeating and doubting yourself. So even if it does take years, I'm going to do it :)

4 Answers

  • Talia
    Lv 4
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    First of all, I hate to be a Debbie downer, but becoming a published author is not something you can just do. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time—years (and I don't mean years writing the book, I mean years getting it past the stages of revising).

    If you do want to use a pen name, don't worry about doing anything with it until you have signed a contract with an agent. Then talk to your agent about it. If you are planning to go straight to publishing houses (riskier) wait until you have signed paperwork with them.

    Just for some background on pen names:

    Pen names are generally used so that writers can submit their work to different publishers and not have to worry about the publishers googling their name and seeing any past failures. For example, Jane Doe publishes a mystery novel that struggles. She, using the same name as on her published mystery novel, tries to get a publisher to print her new mystery book. The publisher sees her first novel struggled and rejects her work, no matter how good it may actually be. Jane now uses a different name, like Jenn Dawn, and submits the rejected mystery book to a new publisher. To them, she is a brand new writer, so they read her book without a bias and agree to publish it. Done!

    So no, don't bother putting your pen name in your query letters. As for writing contests, they're all different. You'll have to check their guidelines, as that has more than one answer!

    Good luck with everything! :)

    Source(s): Alllll me and my experiences... I'm currently working with a literary agent
  • 9 years ago

    The name you want the book to be published under isn't important until, well, it's about to be published. I would suggest you don't mention it in the query letter, but only because you can't afford to waste words there. A sentence like "I would like this book to be published under the name Joe Bloggs" is 13 words that you could probably put to better use by telling the agent a bit more about the book or any previous publication credits.

    I don't know about contests - you'd have to check the rules of the one(s) you're thinking of entering.

  • 9 years ago

    Don't ever put a pen name in a query letter. I read that somewhere in the literary guide to agents book.

    I'm not sure about the contests though

  • 4 years ago

    The retailers and publishers will recognise your truly identify. There is not any means round it. A verify can best be written to truly identify. Pen names best defend the writer's identification from the typical public.

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