If it helps, here's how I and some other authors chose our pen names. When we had our daughter three years ago, we went through a list of hundreds of names. HUNDREDS. We knew it was a girl, and yes, still hundreds...Anyhoo, Cassandra made it into the top five but wasn't what we ended up using. I love the name, so making it the first part of my pen name meant I could still "use" it. Carr is my mother's maiden name chopped off, as a nod to my family. A boring process overall, but it worked for me.
Another author friend, Cara Bristol, arrived at hers this way: "When I picked "Cara" I wanted a name that sounded sexy, but wasn't over-the-top sexual, like what DH jokingly suggested, Lolita Cummings. Cara is a term of endearment in Italian. I tried on a number of different names, but always came back to Cara. I put a lot of thought into it. I will add that I had feared I would have trouble using a pen name, but it's become a part of me and I think of myself as Cara now. I found it very empowering to pick my own name." Keri Ford wanted a name that was easier to remember and spell than French-derived maiden name and Kari Gregg said she used a variation of her own name so she would answer to it.
I also spoke to an author who writes in different genres, so it suits her purposes to have pen names. Barbara Mack said, "I really like creative words for colors I always keep my first name, and use a color for my last name. I write historical romance under my own name, but I publish cookbooks under the name Barbara Indigo, and I have a young adult novel coming soon published under the name Barbara Sorrel. Probably boring for other people, but I love choosing my pen names."
There are some authors who have really great pen names, and some where I wonder how in the world they came up with that combination of letters. Keeping this in mind, I thought I'd give some tips for picking a pen name:
- Make it easy to remember AND spell. Some authors have long, difficult to spell/pronounce/remember names. Does that stop me from buying their books? No, but it does make it harder.
- Google the name. You might want to check Amazon too. After all, if another author is already using that name, you should really find another.
- Use the same first name as your real name. That way you're more likely to actually answer to it if someone calls it out at a book signing or other event. It's definitely an awkward moment if you're standing there with a blank look on your face when someone is trying to address you.
- Be sure it's not too similar to another writer. You don't want to confuse readers, particularly if you and the other author write in the same genre.
- Consider how long it is. After all, if everything goes well you'll be signing books and other swag. A long name will be cumbersome to write over and over.
- Try to pick a name you won't get sick of. It's going to be yours for a long time with any luck.
- When in doubt, go classic. People tend to remember classic names over trendy ones.
- Avoid using an odd spelling of a common name. Readers are more likely to remember the name by its more common spelling, which could make it difficult to find you in searches.
So there you have it. Now go out and find yourself a pen name!
Cassandra Carr is a multi-published erotic romance writer with Ellora's Cave, Siren, and Loose Id who lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on Twitter. For more information about Cassandra, check out her website athttp://www.booksbycassandracarr.com, "like" her Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCassandraCarror follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Cassandra_Carr.
BLURB FOR CURRENT RELEASE: Caught, Loose Id, December 6, 2011
When Callie returns to her hometown for the holidays she comes face to face with her old lover and Dominant, Jack. She left him three years ago believing he could never be the happily-ever-after man she needed. Yet Jack still wants her and she finds herself wanting to submit to him again.
As Jack and Callie explore their Dominant/submissive relationship, Callie gets drawn deep into Jackís world all over again. For his part, Jack canít seem to forget how she nearly ruined him when she took off without even saying good-bye all those years ago, but heís afraid his baser needs will destroy Callie.
If Callie give Jack another chance to prove he can be what she needs, can Jack overcome his own fears and claim Callie forever?