Pen Names: What Are They and How To Use Them

This blog was written by me, but inspired by my fans’ comments on my YouTube video, NaNoWriMo Publishing Edition: Day 24.

So what is a pen name? If you’re curious what a pen name is, or sometimes referred to as a pseudonym, they’re names on works that hide identities, organize works into groups, used as a marketing strategy – they’re used for all sorts of things!

Maybe your genre doesn’t match with what name you’re writing under. Rainbow Rowell wouldn’t be found on a horror novel. Maybe R. Rowell would be preferred. This is a marketing strategy. The author still wants to put their books under the same name, but they switch around how they spell out or initial their name on the cover to better fit the genre.

Some people want privacy. Maybe Rainbow Rowell isn’t her name at all. Maybe she’s writing horrors and romances under this fake name so her family doesn’t know her secret fascination with fictional characters. This is still a nice strategy, even when matching names with genres – because you can still change from using initials to full names. It’s just not your real name.

There’s something about being unable to sign your real name on the book cover that is so heartbreaking for some. But deciding on your name is something I would consider at the beginning of your career, before you release anything. Once you start on a path, like using your real name, it’s hard to use anything else. You can, but it’s like starting over, because you’re basically being labeled as a new author.

One of my published fans told me he wrote in pen names. He used totally different names for different genres and got less revenue from that because fans didn’t know the books were written by the same person, so there was a marketing rift.

One fan said she could never use her real name, afraid her family might find out. But from what I can gather, she is still publishing under that name and has made a decent amount of success from it. She was consistent in using the same name, even if it wasn’t her real one.

A few other reasons you might want to use a pen name is because your name is too long, or your name is hard to pronounce, or it reads wrong in translation. I met a waiter once who called himself Erin, because people couldn’t pronounce his real name, Eran with a squiggle over the “a.”

So consider your situation, what you’re writing, and what you’re comfortable with. You never have to use your real name. You don’t have to use your real name or always use your fake name. But you can if that is what you’d rather do. You can use abbreviations or initials.

What I can gather from the comments is that “your name is your brand,” and to build your brand, you should try to keep your name(s) as consistent as possible. The route I’m going to take with my books is to use my real name and mess around with initials when I write a completely different genre. Mainly, I’m going to look at the cover and ask, “Will they take my book seriously with that name on there?” If I think it’s fine, I’ll leave it. It all comes down to the cover for me.

Thanks for reading guys!


Where you can find my books:

YouTube Channel:




Making an Audiobook! (ACX)

ACX is a great way to get an audiobook out for your book! Although there are negative aspects to it, it offers more than any other company. They’re planning to catch up with their other platforms soon so that the author can make even more money.


ACX will distribute your audiobook through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, which are the leading providers for audio! Not convinced yet? Let me keep going.

ACX also allows you to distribute through other platforms besides the ones I listed above. You will, however, no longer be “exclusive” with ACX if you distribute through other platforms besides Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, and will get a smaller royalty payout. Exclusive receives 40% of their royalties, whereas nonexclusive gets 25%. My advice is if you are confident enough in other platforms besides the top distributors, then definitely go nonexclusive!

You can give 25 promo codes away for free to anyone who wants your audiobook!

Professional narrators will make your story sound crisp and follow the necessary guidelines to sell on ACX. You can choose your payment plan with them at the start of the project. If you decide to split the royalty rate with your narrator, you have to go exclusive so both of you get at least 20%. But if you want to keep all 40%, just do it yourself!


ACX does NOT provide CD distributions. (If you go nonexclusive, you can find someone else who will make the CDs!)

ACX does NOT distribute to libraries or schools, not even digital copies (again, you can go nonexclusive for this option).

ACX controls the price of your product. Below is the chart they use to price your audiobook:

  •  under 1 hour: under $7
  •  1 – 3 hours: $7 – $10
  •  3 – 5 hours: $10 – $20
  • 5 – 10 hours: $15 – $25
  • 10 – 20 hours: $20 – $30
  • over 20 hours: $25 – 35

I’ve personally found more benefits behind going non-exclusive. You’d still be part of the biggest distributors and have easy access to narrators. Since I’m voicing my own, I have to make the decision of choosing between going through the leading distributors without libraries, CDs, or schools, or go through leading distributors along with other distributers with CDs, libraries, and school, but lose 15% royalties from all leading platforms.

If my audiobook ends up being ten hours long, selling at $20 on leading sites, 15% can make a difference of $3. So I have to be confident that the schools, libraries, CD sales, and other smaller distributors will match the difference. Which it could be possible.

Thanks for reading,

Where you can find my books:

YouTube Channel:



I’m So Excited, I Just Can’t Hide It!

Hello, my name is WritingMime and welcome to my blog!

I’m new to WordPress, or was when I first wrote this, so enjoy my first attempt at posting on the job.

This blog will be useful to those seeking advise on writing or the process of publishing. My experiences range from far to many, being an aspiring writer myself. I’ve critiqued other authors’ work, and have spent a lot of time researching the marketing business. I’ve written quite a few rough drafts of stories in my day and love to draw. Hopefully, I can put some of my own illustrations inside my books and on their covers one day!

In each of my posts, I’ll either be writing about what I’m working on, tips on drafting and revising, supplementary advice for a YouTube video I recently uploaded, or big news in the publishing community.

I hope to keep my readers enticed, with a bit of tomfoolery here and there, working to make better writers out of all of us! Always remember to have fun with it! And never stop writing, ’cause those words won’t write themselves!

Woot! We have a bright future ahead of us,


Where you can find my books:

YouTube Channel: