Here’s a question I get asked frequently and that’s should I use a pen name?
There’s no right or wrong answer but here are three things to consider-
Are you writing or going to write both fiction and non-fiction?
I started out as just a fiction writer, then became a freelance writer, but decided to use my real name for both ventures. However, some people like to separate their two personas. Sometimes writers think they won’t be taken seriously for non-fiction pieces if they also write fiction. I don’t think editors care that much but if you’d feel more comfortable, then yes, you might want to use another name for your fiction.
Are you already well established in either fiction, a sub-genre or non-fiction?
Some writers like and hope to take readers/fans with them when they begin writing something completely different. I know lots of writers who have one name for their mystery stories and one for their romances. However, if you have a built in audience, sometimes loyalty to your writing is more important that what genre you’re writing in. This means if they see your name, they love your writing and buy the book.
Would you prefer others not to know you’re writing in a certain genre?
This was the dilemma I faced when I started writing erotic romances and erotica. I had freelance writing clients who I knew might not looking kindly upon one of the their regular writers penning stories that might make their readers blush and hence the reason I chose to go with a pen name. However, no matter how good you are at keeping the two separate it’s not foolproof. My identity was quickly revealed when I did an interview to promote one of my books and the interviewee told her readers my real name.
So the bottom line is a pen name isn’t essential but look at what you write, think about whether or not you want to keep…or try and keep anonymous, and then make your decision based on that.