Random Thoughts

What’s In A Name

The other day, my editor sent me the galley for my paranormal romantic suspense, A Hunter’s Angel, which will be released sometime this year by The Wild Rose Press under my pen name—Cera duBois.  In my excitement at seeing my first soon-to-be published book for the first time in any professional form, I showed my husband.  First let me say, he is very supportive of my writing career, and I can even *get* where he’s coming from with some of what he’s saying. However, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, even though he thinks he does.

The moment he saw the title page and my pen name there big as you please, he started arguing with me about my reasons for using a pen name.  In his way of thinking, it isn’t the same as the book being in my name.  He had tons of reason why I shouldn’t use a pen name—everything from it will screw up the taxes to no one will be able to find my book to it would be easier for someone to steal the idea of the book or claim it as their own.

He actually doesn’t even like Sara Walter Ellwood, because that too really is a pen name.  My maiden name isn’t my real middle name—but he can accept it over Cera duBois. He purposely mispronounces the last name all the time when he talks to people about my writing. Even though I tell him if he doesn’t want to say the French pronunciation, to just say “Du-Boys” like the Western Pennsylvania town of Dubois. I know he’s proud of me, if he wasn’t he wouldn’t be telling people I’m soon to be a published author. I think this is why my using a pen name is so upsetting to him. He doesn’t consider a pen name as a real thing.  To him it’s fake, and therefore, maybe people will think the book is too.

He just doesn’t understand that very few authors actually use their real names. Unlike actors or singers, we authors seem to value our privacy more. Or if that’s not the reason for choosing one, it’s that our real names don’t fit the genre we write or is already in use by someone famous. Nor does he get that authors often have more than one pen name to separate the different genres in which they write.

Hence, the reason I chose one for my paranormals, which was a business decision. I know marketing two names won’t be easy, but I like the way I can market each genre differently under different names—with different branding and websites to match the diverseness of the genres.

Let’s face it… Contemporary Westerns are very different from paranormals with vampires, werewolves, fallen angels and demons… But then, I do have a vampire masquerading as a cowboy in A Hunter’s Blade which is set in a mountain town in Colorado.  Maybe… No, I still can’t imagine wide-open Texas plains full of grazing cattle and beautiful horses mixed up with werewolves howling at the full moon from bleak forests.  Well I can, but it’s not a pretty sight…LOL

So, tell me: Do you have or plan to use a pen name, and if you do, what’s your reasoning behind it? And if you don’t, would you ever chose to use one in the future? That way, the next time the dear hubby decides to argue with me, I can come back at him with some really good ammunition.


23 thoughts on “What’s In A Name

  1. Yup, I’ve got a pen name. I don’t hide very hard my real name, but I’m a lot more, um, likely to be naughty when posting/thinking/talking like Tory. It’s kind of freeing, really. I’ve wanted to write under the name Tory Michaels since I was 14, so I’m getting my wish at long last. 🙂

    Congrats on the upcoming release. I have a character (maybe two) with the name DuBois.

    • Thanks Tory….

      Yeah, I’m not hiding my real name. In fact, hopefully and good Lord willing I’ll have my contemporary Westerns pubbed under it.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  2. D'Ann Linscott-Dunham says:

    My name has always been D’Ann Linscott-Dunham. Querying. Contests. But if I ever publish, it will be D’Ann Lindun. Simpler, mostly. I completely see where you’re coming from, and although I have no ammnution, the bottom line is it’s your career, your decision, not his.

  3. Hi Sara,

    My husband also is very supportive of my writing career. After all, it was his idea that I write to begin with (and he’ll tell you that right off the bat). LOL But he had one condition to my writing: I had to have a pen name. Protection of my privacy and that of our family would come first. My pen name is MY name, it’s individually unique to me. I’ll be just as proud to see it as I would my real name.

    Congratulations on your coming release! I wish you a GREAT launch day!!

  4. Tabitha Blake says:

    Okay Tabitha Bake is my pen name. I write romance and let’s just face it my name doesn’t sound like a romance writer. Tabitha Blake just sounds sexy and flows across the tongue. We all have our reasons.
    And you know what? That’s okay. No one cares if you use your real name or pen name. It all comes down to the author’s preference. But I know what you are saying my hubby tries to give me advice as well. Sometimes its good advice and sometimes not. We just have to know what to listen too and what to shrug our sholders at. They mean well.

    • Although, I think a romance author named Bertha might be a tough sell, most names aren’t. But depending on what you write, a sexy or unique name fits better.

      Hence one of the other reasons I chose Cera duBois for my paranormals/fantasies and hopefully eventually sci fi stories. It sounds mysterious, old fashioned or even exotic (in a out of the world type of way).

      Thanks for stopping by….

  5. I don’t have a pen name. My name on my book is my name on my driver’s license and tax returns and everything else. I chose not to go the pen name route because I wanted to see *my* name on the cover of that book. That was my decision and my reasoning.

    I can totally understand going with a pen name and, have at times, wished I had.

    Like D’Ann said, we all have to make the choice that’s best for us.

    • This was my original plan too… then I decided to write in different genres. I considered one of my favorite paranormal writers. I’ve read everything Amanda Ashley has ever pubbed. I’ve never read a Madeline Baker novel–have absolutely no desire to.

      Guess what? They are the same person. This was one reason I decided to pub under 2 different names. Of course, I’d have loved it if one of my Westerns had been first, but we can’t have everything….

      Thanks for stopping by….

  6. I don’t have a pen name, but I do understand completely why some authors prefer using one. I write paranormal, but if I do venture out and write a book in a different genre, I will then use a pen name.

  7. What a great topic and awesome post! I enjoyed reading. Good question on the pen names. I’ll have to email you of a story that reminds me of all this pen talk. Remind him if Stephen King were to write romance it would be awkward to read it with his name tagged on the front.

    Your genres are not that drastic but still. It is a wise career move as they say since these are two types of audiences, Therefore, they can expect the same work from each author. Kind of like a Sketcher store and a Nike store.

    You wouldn’t expect to find a pair of Nikes at a Sketcher store. Bad example, but you get what I mean. It’s consistency and what the audience will expect that creates a loyal readership:)

    CONGATS again!!!!! So happy for you!

    • Aw… thanks…

      LOL…. I get the example. I even tried that on the hubby but used chocolate.

      Hershey (which is made practically in my back yard) and Mars

      They are both owned by Hershey… but some people swear by M and Ms and hate Hershey Kisses.

      He didn’t buy it. Of course, it might be that he just prefers Nestle….LOL

      Thanks for stopping by.

  8. I’m actually in the opposite situation from yours – I’ve used pen names in the past, and then ditched them to use my real name. Zee is actually a shortened form of my name, but the family name is the same. People who know me as a relative or as an author, know me under the same name.

    It’s an individual choice, really. My husband had no problem with me using his name (yes, that’s my married name!), and I wanted to bring all my writing under a single persona. I skirted the issue of genres by having a personal brand that is visible in all my works, irrespective of genre. I find it easier to use a single name everywhere and for everything – being behind pen names was not an easy task for me.

    But if someone can juggle a pen name, then why not go for it? Like I said, it’s an individual choice, and depends on what works for you and you alone. 🙂

    • Who knows, Zee, I may come back on here next year and rant about juggling 2 names and say “why didn’t I listen to the hubby?”

      Or I might decide I need another one.

      I guess time will only tell…..

      Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Great post Sara!

    When I got my first contract (okay…before actually…lol) I tried to come up with a pen name and I couldn’t find anything that I really liked. Something I’d want to use for the long term, because I’m hoping my career will be long term 🙂

    So, I kept my original name. I’m not worried about not using a pen name because, let’s face it, my name is kind of common. I’ve actually worked with 3 other Christine Warner’s in my life and know there are several more.

    Basically, if I had found a pen name I’d liked, I would’ve gone for it just because i think having a pen name would be fun (lame eh?). But since I didn’t, I’m okay using my real name. Wish I could give you some ammunition for the future, but you just have to go with what works for you…and everyone is different 🙂

    Congrats again on your upcoming release!

    • To be honest, I never expected to take up a pen name. But I really wanted to keep my genres separate and I really like my pen name….LOL

      By the way….I think I’ve worked with you before, too. LOL

      Yes, I know a Christine Warner, too, but I know she isn’t a writer.

      Thanks for stopping by….

  10. Jennifer Lowery~Author says:

    When I get published someday 🙂 I plan to use my maiden name because I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl and that is how I always envisioned my name on the cover of a book. So, yes, I’ll be using a pen name even if it is my real maiden name. Nice post! And I like your pen name, Sara!

    • I get this perfectly…. It’s one reason I’m using my maiden name as my middle name for my Western name.

      And thanks….I like my pen name too! It was chosen by poll by a few non writing friends and writing friends–they did good LOL

      Thanks for stopping by….

  11. Ahhh the woes of multiple names, yet they are all you. I go by Cayla, and Cathryn and even Elo, Elorie and Elorithryn (last three are internet handles). But, the name on the cover of my books will be Cathryn Leigh, which is my given first and middle name.

    You see, back when I first dreamed of having a book published (age 8 or so) I knew reality – women’s last names change. My parents were divorced and my Dad had remarried another divorcee. That meant her last name had changed twice. While I didn’t plan on going through divorce, I think I had hopes of beng published before I got married. I also had 250 clothing tags printed up with “Cracted by Cathryn Leigh” on them. Even at 10 or 12 I knew I wasn’t going to use those before my last name changes (i probably still have over 200 left).

    I could have created a compeltely different name to serve the same purpose, but I’m happy with the name I was given. though thinking about the different genres I could see my fantasy published under Cathryn Leigh and the Science Fiction under Elorithryn, but that just seems too complicate. :}

    • I like Cathryn Leigh…LOL on the tags….

      The funny thing is…. I’m probably better known as Flowerlady than either Sara Walter Ellwood or Cera duBois….from when I wrote fan fiction. So to me what’s one more name…LOL

      Thanks for coming by….

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