Something as simple as a name can get very complicated, very quickly. My name is something that identifies me as me. It’s my own individual label. But what happens when I’m faced with deciding how to identify myself as an author?
My last name has changed for reasons irrelevant to this blog. What is relevant is that I am a writer, which makes me an author, and I need to decide who I want to be after the “by” in my work. Do I want to use my current name, my former name, or a different name altogether? I have to figure out who I am, and who I want to be in the literary world.
Many authors use pseudonyms, and many have more than one. It’s defined as “an assumed name used by a writer instead of their real name.” The reasons writers choose to do this are worth considering. Some write in more than one genre and want to keep them separate. In the past, some female authors used a male pen name to break into a male-dominated profession. Perhaps a particular genre lends itself to a male or female author name. Others just want to have a measure of anonymity between the public and their personal lives. Some authors want to have fun with a name, aligning it with their writing genre to give it creative flair and potential marketability.
I researched the use of pen names/pseudonyms with regard to copyright and business use. There are details that need to be adhered to, but I’m not going to address them here. I’m not an expert, and I need to seek legal advice myself on how to proceed with using a pen name in my work. If you’re considering this, I’d recommend you do the same to be on the safe side.
I tossed around author names for my work on and off during its creation. I could never make a decision, and the deadlines for completing my story forced me to put it aside. Hopefully, there would come a time when I’d have the luxury of deciding the name that would follow the “by.” For now, I needed to stick to the task at hand – writing, revising, editing (repeat from the beginning as often as necessary).
So, did I solve my pseudonym dilemma? I did, thanks to my daughter. Seems she had the perfect solution all along. It made clear, absolute sense. Looking back, I think I was too close, too immersed to see the obvious (the forest for the trees). She brought me back to the beginning of my life. Who I was, and what my name was in those early years when I would be reading the books I’m now writing. It’s been decided. The author of my middle-grade books will be A. K. Hicks.