The Clark Kents Of The Writing Industry: The Importance Of An Author's Name

Why do writers use pseudonyms, you may ask?

While writing a book, many writers disregard the significance of utilizing their own names and instead use pseudonyms. To some, this could appear as if they are superheroes hiding their alter egos. They are the Clark Kents of the writing industry in which the only difference is that while Clark Kent hides his identity of being Superman with a pair of glasses, some writers use a fictitious name to hide their original identity. Many writers have their reasons for using pen names rather than their actual name. 

Some writers value privacy, especially when what they write can cause controversies with target audiences. Examples would include when writing about a stance or opinion you have against a political aspect of things, the writer's life is liable to be endangered when writing on such topics and therefore a pen name is used for the safety of the writer. Another reason some writers make use of pen names is to prevent recognition and create new readership when writing on separate genres. When writing on genres like adult and children’s books, a writer would like to establish separate readership because both genres have different target audiences. Also, some authors don’t want everyone to know about the genre they write so they go undercover under a different name (Lisa).

The way Superman enjoys the feeling of flying high in the sky and saving the world, some writers also find it fun and enjoyable to write under pen names. While some writers find it fun some are looking at this from a sales perspective. Some writers believe that their names are either hard to pronounce or are similar to a well-known author. In order to prevent confusion and misinterpretation, they find it easier to work under pen names. Many writers around the world have reasons ranging from gender, co-writing, and so much more but what they need to understand is the significance of a writer’s own name for writing and publishing purposes. 

Although many authors have reasons for using pen names, their original names hold some significance in the writing industry. Readers look for originality in literary works. Most people want to read books that they can be able to trace back to and connect with the background of the author. Looking at it from the media perspective, an author’s name is what the fans want to know during press releases and interviews. The author’s original name would hold a lot more legal power than a fictitious name that was made up. When signing contracts with publishing agencies, a writer should use their actual name to sign the contract. An author’s name is also very significant when writing the author’s bio. In the author’s bio, the readers want to know a little more about the author which is why their name is very important.

Note this “An author’s brand is their reputation (NY Book Editors).” For example, authors like J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, and John Grisham all branded themselves with their names. Sure we have other famous people who brand themselves with their products such as Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. He once said that “A brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” The author’s name is the brand that people talk about when they are not present. Of course, we have very famous authors like J.K. Rowling who is branded with both her name and the Harry Potter series. In order for many authors to get to her level of popularity, their name is just as significant in the writing industry.

Branding oneself by their name makes it easier to sell one’s books. Branding helps cultivate name recognition, which is particularly helpful for when the author is ready to sell their next book. And, because people will know what to expect from this author, they’ll be happy to buy from them. Which makes it a win-win situation (NY Book Editors).

Have you ever wondered why Superman refused to reveal himself to the world? We all know that he wanted to live a normal life beneath all that superhero stuff. But, that’s a good explanation because he was born a superhero, living the life of a mild-mannered reporter. Looking at it from this perspective, writers using pen names are originally the reporters, why not embrace your identity of being Superman and fly high in the sky. Superman’s weakness was kryptonite but the writer’s unfamiliarity of the significance of their original name is their personal kryptonite following them everywhere they go.

Works cited:

  • "Why Do Authors Use Pen Names?". Toughnickel, 2020, Accessed 5 Aug 2020. 

  • "Your Guide To Branding Yourself As An Author | NY Book Editors". NY Book Editors, 2020, Accessed 5 Aug 2020.

  • McCombs, Shona. "How To Cite A Website In MLA | In-Text And Works Cited Examples". Scribbr, 2019, Accessed 5 Aug 2020.

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