Publishing under a pen name: Pros and cons

birth papers 1943

I’ve explained elsewhere that my legal name is John William Boushka, and that my parents gave me the nickname “Bill” when I was born, and that was how I was always known colloquially.

“Bill” sounds secular (based on a simplification of my very English middle name), whereas “John” is the name of at least two important apostles or disciples in the New Testament and sounds more somber.

My father was, in fact, “John Joseph Boushka” (b. 1903 in New Virginia, Iowa) and was often known as “Jack”, again secular, especially as a young man before marriage to my mother in 1940.

Amazon is quite OK with people publishing books under pen names, and there can be specific situations where (in many countries) it may be “dangerous” for your exact identity to be known. In my case, in the 1990s, I wanted to keep some “double-life” separation between income producing work and self-publishing for self-expressive purposes. (That turns out to be a somewhat eventful narrative that I have covered elsewhere.)

One big disadvantage can be that it can be much harder to make a book sell under a pen name unless you are already well-established, and there may be a notion that a pen-name should be a separate business.

Here is an article (March 31, 2021) by Daniel Rosehill on Medium, under a subject called Freelance Writing, “Reasons To Use A Pen Name For Your Amazon Self-Publishing — And Why Not To”.

Robert Brewer also discusses this for Writer’s Digest.

(Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at 11:30 PM EST by John W. Boushka)

Author: Jboushka

on home page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.