Iconic Pen Names Across History and Why They Were Chosen

Posted July 12, 2018 by Jana in Discussion / 7 Comments

Pen names are so much fun, and I love learning the reasons behind why authors choose them. Centuries prior, there were countless reasons why authors adopted a nom de plume. Sometimes it was strictly to remain anonymous, and other times it was because authors were more successful if their genders were concealed. You can check out some of the most iconic authors and their pen names in the infographic (created by Invaluable) below.

Today, pen names are still widely used, but it can be difficult to land on one that suits both you and your writing. Invaluable created this fun pen name generator to help you out! It generates a unique pen name based on the genre and gender you choose. If you know you want to include your first or last name, you can type that in and it will populate a nom de plume incorporating one.

How do you feel about pen names?
Which pen name would you choose for yourself and why?
What name did the pen name generator provide you?

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7 responses to “Iconic Pen Names Across History and Why They Were Chosen

  1. Very cool article! Some of these I knew about, but some I didn’t, like Agatha Christie! I know a lot of female authors used pen names or just their initials so publishers wouldn’t know they were women.

  2. This is a pen name. I’ve been using it since high school. In fact, my high school diploma doesn’t actually have my real name on it. It has my pen name + my former last name on it. I think my college degree has my former legal name on it though.
    Brooke Lorren recently posted…I Love The Young Elites

  3. I like pen names, you can be anyone, or you can be yourself without the stress of having to conform to societal expectations that may be associated with your name especially when it signifies a certain gender, religion, culture,or race.

  4. This is a really cool post, Jana! I love Dr. Seuss’ reason for his pen-name :) Stephen King’s also made me laugh (it seems like James Patterson didn’t have to justify publishing more than one book a year so what gives??). It’s also so interesting how authors tend to use pen names to jump from one genre to another. I suppose there is that mentality that once a writer has established themselves in a genre, they won’t be very good in another ones. I’ll definitely be sharing this in my bimonthly wrap-up!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks
    Laura @BlueEyeBooks recently posted…2018 May + June Wrap-Up (what happened I don’t even know…)