A “Pen Name” to be or not to be? That is a good question.

As a writer, and thankfully, now as a published author, I’ve been wrestling with my choice of whether I should have used a pen name under which to write and publish novels. Many of the other authors I’ve met recently whether in person or by Facebook seem to use a name different from their own. Even my husband was concerned and wanted me to use a pen name. Another author mentioned to us that it helps to keep away the crazy people, though I can’t imagine why a crazy person would really be that interested in moi!

Anyway, I decided against this idea and used my real name. After all, I thought, I know a lot of people who know me by my real name. If I change it, wouldn’t it be harder to get attention for my work? Of course, everyone I would tell about my book, I’d have to give them the pen name anyway so they could find it, right?

Still, my author acquaintances reminded me that you never know if you may come across someone that isn’t all there (obviously they meant mentally), and that I should take precautions. I figured it wouldn’t matter if I had a Pen name or not. If someone wants to find you badly enough, with today’s technology and some computer geniuses who are in the “dark net”? I think they call it or maybe it’s “dark web”, I’m not sure, but with their skills, I believe they can find you no matter what. I doubt changing your name would do much to discourage them. My daughter, who’s in the publishing field as well, confirmed this. Thus, my additional reasons for keeping my name.

Unfortunately, now that I’ve finally had my first book published, I still feel slightly exposed being out in the public eye a bit more. Whether or not it really would have protected me in some way by using a Pen name, I’m starting to wonder if I should have taken the advice of my author friends and used a name other than my own. I guess I won’t know the answer to this until much later when I see how, if at all, having books out there published with the real me affects me. My hope is that it doesn’t, at least not in a negative way.

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