Thursday, July 07, 2011

My Secret Identity, or Choosing the Write Pseudonym

A little while ago, I wrote about some of the reasons why a writer may choose a pseudonym. The issue I was struggling with was the fact that I write sweet or sensual romances but I am on the verge of branching out into my first erotic romance story for recent call for submissions.

I was torn. Did I want to muddy the good name of Nan Comargue by writing in several different subgenres? On the other hand, did I want to go through the energy and effort of taxing my limited memory by creating and maintaining a new identity?

That said, I’ve decided to take the plunge and create a new self to thrust out there into the cold hard world of romance writing. No doubt, she too will experience the highs (request for full manuscript) and lows (rejection letters) of publishing.

So now that I’ve decided to do it, how do I go about choosing the right (write) pseudonym for me?

Random Name Generators:

If I found the task of choosing a pseudonym a tedious chore to be completed as quickly as possible, I would just use one of these websites to create a plausible sounding name.

Porn Names:

Or, if you’re delving into erotic romances, as I am, you can use your porn name to create a suitable pseudonym. The rule for creating such names, as I understand it, is to use the name of your first pet for your first name and the name of the street you grew up on as your surname.

            Example: Rex (pet name) + Main (street name) = Rex Main

My porn name is Lady Wilson. Not really ideal and not good enough for my purposes.

Of course, I enjoy the process of choosing character names so why wouldn’t I savour creating a whole new identity for myself?

All I need to do is keep a few guidelines in mind:

Don’t use someone else’s name: Big one, since the point of creating a pseudonym is to avoid confusion. People should know they’re picking up your book and exactly what kind of book to expect from you. Not to mention the ethical morass involved in picking a name close to another individual or writer’s. Stephanie King, anyone?

Consider the genre you’re writing in: Erotic romance is not the same as sweet romance. You want a name that pops, screams passion or sensuality, and is also memorable. So, anything except Nan Comargue, in other words.

Looks and sounds good: A pseudonym should look great on the front cover of a book (here’s hoping!) and should also sound smooth on the tongue. Although I’ve lumped these together, these are two different traits. On the page, I don’t want a name that’s too long or repetitive, for instance, with the same sequences of letters in both first and last names. For listening value, I want a few different sounds in my mouth but there’s a tendency to trip over too many of the same sounds. No one wants a tongue-twister name. But remember that letters that look the different on the page can end up sounding the same.

I love the name: It seems obvious but sometimes you can get caught up in picking the “right” name and overlook the fact that you don’t love the name you’ve chosen. Think about it. If your writing becomes successful then you could be joined to your pseudonym for many years to come. You don’t want to grow tired of your alter ego.

So, keeping all of these tips in mind, what name have I chosen for my wilder, erotic romance-writing self?

Sigh. I still haven’t decided.

Photo courtesy of m_bartosch at

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