Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Choosing a Pen Name

I'm taking a quick break from book reviews so you don't get too tired of my brazen opinions...so today I'll be talking about the process of choosing a pen name.

As an author, how do you choose the perfect name to write under?

The first thing you have to decide is whether or not you are going to be using your own name. If you are using your own name, then you get to play around with it and have some fun. Do you want to use your first and last name (Amanda Hutchinson), your first and middle name (Amanda Grace), initials (A.G. Hutchinson) or some other combination? Have some fun with it until you come up with the perfect name that you love.

If you are not going to use your own name, there are two things to consider. First of all, do you already have a name in mind? If so, great. If not, my second question is this: How do you name your characters in stories? My advice would be to use the same method you use to create names for your characters to come up with a name for yourself. Everyone tends to have their own process of naming their characters, so I can't say "do this" or "do that." My process for naming characters involves learning what makes the character tick, what their identity is, how they would label themselves. And then I find names with meanings that correspond to that. So, for a pen name, I would think about what makes me uniquely me and then find names that have meanings that encompass whatever that is. And for surnames I just love to look at lists of surnames and match first names up with several different surnames until one sounds great.

Obviously I didn't use that second method for choosing my own pen name because I used my own name.

After you have chosen the perfect name, either your own or one you've made up, there is one final step: Google it.

You want to be unique and to stand out from other authors. That isn't going to happen if there are fifty other people writing under the same name that you are. So google it and see if there are other authors writing under that same name. If the first thing that pops up is a book written by someone else, go back to the drawing board and come up with a new name. 

I didn't do that last step when I first started writing so I was unaware that there are a dozen or more authors who write under the name Amanda Grace. Trust me, you don't want to be one of the crowd. You want to be unique. So make sure whatever name you are hoping to write under isn't already being used.

Happy Writing, everybody!


  1. This is a fun post! Even if you don't have a name unique in the writing world, I think "Amanda Grace" flows wonderfully - of course, that's probably what your parents thought when they named you. ;)
    Recently Dad and I were noticing how authors in the first half of the 20th century used their first and middle initials. P.G. Wodehouse and C.S. Lewis are a couple of examples. I wonder what the current trend is!

    1. I love the way Amanda Grace flows too, which is why I originally chose it and also why I chose not to change it once I realized there were other Amanda Graces in the world (also the hassle of re-branding myself is rather daunting).
      Initials are surprisingly making a come-back these days. :)

    2. That makes sense. :) For what it's worth you're the only Amanda Grace authoress I know of. ;)


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