Libby Waterford is not my real name. My real name isn’t terribly un-authorly, but it is hyphenated and I already had a web presence in a different profession, so it seemed like the best path for me. Even though renaming yourself seems like it would be fun, it’s not easy. It took me about two years to decide on a pen name I thought I could live with. There’s a lot of advice out there on how to choose one: here are a few bits of it that I took to heart.

pen writing on paper

  • Try to pick a name that you can envision writing over and over until your hand cramps (at all those book signings you’ll have to hold for your fans;)).
  • Pick a name that has some relevance to your life. Wanting a name that had some meaning to me instead of something completely random made me feel better about my choice.
  • Thoroughly vet the name before you commit. Search for other authors, or any people, period, with the same name and decide if there will be any confusion if you pick that one. Check Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook, and for the domain name and Twitter handle of the name in question. If someone has claimed those, even if they aren’t using it, then it’s probably best to start over and find something else.
  • Don’t poll your friends and family too much before you decide. You are the one who needs to be comfortable with the name. Everyone else is going to have an opinion, but they won’t have to live with the choice. (This goes for naming your kids, too.)

When I was in third grade, I came up with my first pen name: Luanna Claypoole. Not sure why I thought it needed that extra e at the end, but all in all, it wasn’t so bad.

Do you have any pen name tips?


Creative Commons image posted to Flickr by rfduck