A big battle I took on when I released my first book was figuring out how my name would appear to the world. The cool thing about writing is you can create a pen name to keep your personal life out of the situation. I totally get that and it was kind of my plan before I published my novel. Sadly, I knew if I became famous with my book (ha ha, right?) I would need to sign the novel. It was obvious I would have to keep it my given name so I wouldn’t mess up my signature. Remembering when to address myself as a make believe person or my real self would cause too much stress, I think. I’m still not famous and I most likely could have made it through with no struggles, but I took the easy way out. Besides, it’s not like it was a matter of safety in this day and age. If someone wants to find you, they’re going to do it.
There are some pretty popular authors using pen names out there. Some of the well-known authors would be; Ann Rice (real name Howard Allen Frances O’Brian), Dr. Seuss (real name Theodor Seuss Geisel), J.D. Robb (real name Nora Roberts), Lemony Snicket (real name Daniel Handler), or Richard Bachman (real name Stephen King). And that’s only five names I randomly picked from a list! Exactly, even if an author uses a pen name someone out there will probably be able to dig up their real name by doing a quick Google search about the person. It is pretty rotten for an author to not have a garanteed way to separate their personal life from their job, but I believe authors are happy to receive the love and support from their fans.
I did have the passing thought to possibly keep my maiden name as my author name and my married name would be my personal use to separate my two lives, but that’s not what I ended up doing. I think a large part of me keeping my true name on my novels was my stubborn pride. With my name on the covers of the books it was a way for me to hold up my finished pieces and yell “Look what I did!” (Of course, I didn’t do that, but the fact remains).
What an author chooses to call themselves is their choice entirely. If John Smith wanted his author name to be Giant Elephant it will be Giant Elephant on his novels. But it most likely won’t take long for Giant Elephant’s true identity to be released, but as readers I feel we are more interested in the life of Giant Elephant the author rather than John Smith the average human. All humans are greedy, in a sense, and usually we need to see the grander versions of the famous people’s lives. Look at all the magazines and television shows out there flaunting it all and we jump towards it like bees to honey. Of course, there’s always a bit of dirt spilled but that’s another story altogether. So go out there and make your name the name you want others to remember. Be your true self or take on the role of Giant Elephant. I don’t care. It’s your choice!