2. Your real name is too long, too hard to pronounce or spell: Ex. Joseph Conrad whose real name was Josef Theodora Conrad Nalco Korzeniowski; Oscar Wilde who was Fingal O’Flahertie Wills; Woody Allen, born Allen Stuart Konigsberg; Adolf Hitler, alias Adolf Schickelgruber.
|Betty Joan Peske|
4. You wish to make fun of or insult people in print: This was a favorite sport in the 18th Century. A common pastime was to write letters to the local newspaper ridiculing your rivals or enemies. Benjamin Franklin had a dozen different pen names that he wrote under, i.e., Poor Richard, Busy Body, Silence Dogood and Anthony Afterwit, to name just a few.
5. You are a writer and want to change genres, say from Mystery to Science Fiction: It’s confusing to the reader if you write differently under the same name. It is a good idea to adopt a new name when you launch a new genre.
|You don't want people|
to know you wrote this
7. Your previous book sales have been poor and you want to try again: This is tricky because there is a database available to editors and publishers that records the sales of every writer. Attempting to hide your past behind a new name can be difficult, but not impossible. Recently a woman writer with an average sales record was successful in acquiring a two-book contract using the nom de plume--Kate Alcott. Alcott’s new books are doing very well.
So, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!