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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » To use my name or a pen name?

   
Author Topic: To use my name or a pen name?
Amator
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I am preparing to start submitting short stories and the short novel I am now editing. I have a very common name, and while I would prefer to use my own name, I wonder if using a pen name might be a better movie.

According to the Library of Congress, there are fourteen authors named David Galloway already out there. My name is so common that I went to high school with two other David Galloways and currently work with another. If one performs a search on Google for "David Galloway" you will get roughly 46,000 hits.

I routinely use my middle initial when identifying myself, David E. Galloway, and since none of the authors listed on the Library of Congress have that middle initial, I think I would be okay with that. Otherwise I can go with a pen name.

I'd like to go ahead and get this question settled before I start seriously submitting my work to build up my name, get a website established, etc. Does anyone have any advice regarding this?

Thank you!

David


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Bent Tree
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I don't know if this is helpful, but I might pick up something written by David E. Gallows if I were perusing some unheard of titles.
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Wolfe_boy
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I've never met another David Galloway, for what it's worth.

If it's differentiation you're looking you, maybe go by your Middle name. Erwin Galloway, or whatever it happens to be. Or D. Erwin Galloway.

A pen name is always an option. I think there's another thread very closely related to this topic just slightly below you on the list. Actually, this probably should have been included there, for simplicity.

Jayson Merryfield


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Amator
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When I started this topic, the other one had not been posted yet. I stepped away from the computer for a few hours and then submitted it, by which time the other topic had been posted with several responses. If a moderator would prefer to add this to the other post I have no problem with that, as I do not want to spam the board.

Thanks for the advice. My only problem in going with my middle name is that it is Elias and one of my closest friends is named Elias David, so that is a bit weird for me. I could always go with D.E. Galloway I suppose. Thanks again.


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Lynda
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Why not "Eli Galloway"? That's different. Or "D. Elias Galloway" Or "D. G. Elias" if you want something different.
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Bent Tree
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Elias Galloway is a great name.
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djvdakota
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If I were to change anything it would be last name, because that's the name your books will be placed on the book store/library shelf by.

My opinion as a reader, I'd be happy if every author had a different last name, that way I'd never have to wade through 500 F (for Fiction) Jones books on the library shelf to find THE F Jones that I want.

So, what about David Elias?


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TaleSpinner
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The Library of Congress covers an awful lot of ground.

According to Google, one David Galloway wrote "The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings: Poems, Tales, Essays, and Reviews ", another wrote "Secondary School Teaching and Educational Psychology (Effective Teacher, The), and a third wrote "Flora of New Zealand Lichens"

So I guess the question is, how many David Galloways are there in your chosen genre (there aren't any in SF&F according to the SF Site at http://www.sfsite.com/scribe/scribe07.htm) and is there a real risk of confusion?

Cheers,
Pat


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Robert Nowall
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Ah, the perils of a too-common name---not a problem with me, 'cause I know (or know of) everybody now living who has my particular surname.

I think there's a certain risk of confusion. There were two different writers named Winston Churchill---yes, one of them was Prime Minister of the UK during WWII---and sometimes the unwary might get confused about who wrote what. Winston Churchill the PM usually published under "Winston S. Churchill" once it was brought to his attention...

I once considered using my first-and-middle names as a pen name---this before I embraced my morbid need for attention---but the plan died when I learned of a British writer already using that name...


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JeanneT
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I use my initials when I publish. I tell myself that it's Not because I don't want the assumptions that people tend to bring to a female writer's work, but I might be lying to myself. I'm not fond of my first name.

I don't think the OP's name is all that common. I'd say the addition of an initial would solve the problem, but if you prefer a pen name that works too.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited March 31, 2008).]


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Amator
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Wow, lots of helpful advice, thank you all very much.

I think I will take a week or so and think about this more in depth. I really like several of the suggestions, and at this point I think I will go with a variation of my real name instead of a pen name.

At the moment I'm writing predominantly mainstream literature and a little bit of fantasy, but I also want to mix in some sci-fi, and the project I'm going to do for NaNoWriMo this year will be a Shakespearean western, so I'm a bit all over the map.

Thanks again everyone for all the great input. I'll post again when I decide what to do.


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tnwilz
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I thought some of the names is hitch-hikers guide were pretty good, but my favorite of all time is Stinky Whizzle Teats. Now I would definately pick up a book with that authors name on it.
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Robert Nowall
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I neglected to shove the rest of the "Winston Churchill" story into my post.

When Winston S. Chruchill learned of the work of Winston No-Middle-Initial Churchill, Winston S. Wrote to Winston NMI, and suggested Winston NMI publish under a pseudonym.

Winston NMI wrote back, saying that, as he was the older man and already-established writer, Winston S. should be the one to make the sacrifice and use a pseudonym.


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Darth Petra
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I use a pen name.

Because my REAL name is a crappy kid's book author.

My pen name is Petra Malinowsky.
My REAL name will not be mentioned. Ever.


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Amator
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A crappy kid's book author?

So your real name is Christopher Paolini?


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JeanneT
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Oh, I would SO legally change my name if my name were that. But first, I'd have to kick my parents for giving me a boy's name. LOL
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dreadlord
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First off, I object to the uncalled for Paolini remark! I happen to hold him in the highest regard, and you better take that back or we take this to the hai dong circle. (for those of you unversed in asian fighting techniques, that is a korean form of swordfighting.)

second off, my name is so uncommon that I use a pen just so the editor can pronounce it.

just so you know, my real name is Ahren Bonnell. not good. my pen name is Isaach Matthews Wright.


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JeanneT
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You will be very sad around here then. Paolini is our favorite subject of derision. LOL
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Wolfe_boy
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quote:
just so you know, my real name is Ahren Bonnell. not good. my pen name is Isaach Matthews Wright.

Dude, I don't know that you've made an upgrade there. Ahren, pronounced similar to Erin? Dude, that's an awesome name, and one that would stand out on a shelf, kind of like Kiran Desi or Salman Rushdie. Different names are good. I've only got a stoopid Y in mine.

Jayson Merryfield


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Patrick James
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I am like Robert Nowall: My surname is so rare that I know, and am related to everyone who has it.

However, people have the damndest time trying to pronounce it. It seems a straight forward name to me (which is the way it always seems to the owner of the name.). A pen works for me.


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dreadlord
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you know, you never answered my challenge.

and my name is pronounced like the letters, RN.

just fyi.


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Patrick James
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Can I bring a 357 into the hai dong circle. I'm really not good with swords. I own alot but...
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Okay, no hai dong circles, no swords, no 357s.

Thank you.


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Patrick James
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Squeamish, eh?

Me too.


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