This year I self-published my first two books. After much deliberation about which pen name to use, I made a last minute decision to use my real name, M.L. Millard. (M.L. because sadly, I believe that some men are less likely to pick up a book with a woman’s name on it. OOH! that would be a cool sociological experiment. Same book cover, one with a man’s name, one with a woman’s, hidden camera in the bookstore.)
Anyway, yesterday I received an email from someone in my writer’s club who thought I was a new member. She said my name sounded familiar, but what with the facts that 1) I sent the club members mass emails announcing each of my books 2) I chaired the club’s poetry contest last year 3) I won a contest in the club the year before 4) I have published in the club’s anthology, and 5) I frequently comment on the club’s Facebook posts, I would have hoped that upon seeing my name, she would have immediately known who I was, and what I had written. After all, if my own group of 300 people who LOVE books doesn’t know who I am, how on earth will the rest of the world remember me?
That’s when I regretted not using a pen name. Now, I feel it’s too late for me, so I’m giving YOU my discarded list of pen names (plus some new ones) in case you are at a loss for what to use. Unless your name happens to be more memorable than mine, maybe Jack Wordmeister or Bernadette Bunz, you might want to peruse it.
Harry K. Potter – You’ll benefit from Harry Potter’s name recognition without, I think, breaking any rules.
Bunny Day, or Bonnie Day – both sound like “good idea” in French!
Unicorn Jones – It just sounds cool. Especially for books aimed at sassy middle grade girls.
Paige Turner – Must be a real page-turner, right?
J.P. Rowling – Maybe they’ll think you’re related. Or maybe very out-of-the-loop grandparents will think “Ooh, the Harry Potter author!” and buy it for their grandkids.
Kent Clark – Who can NOT think of Superman?
Kirk T. James – for sci fi
Belle Lovesby – for romance, or Sundance Cassidy for western romance
Ivy Stanford – for scholarly (I.V. if you’re worried about selling to men.)
Name your genre, and I’ll name YOU! A feat that I could not, it seems, accomplish for myself. Find “Seeking First His Kingdom” and “When I Grow Up,” both on Amazon. Not by I.M. Awesome or Brock Obama, but by plain old M.L. Millard.