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Many writers use a pen name with certain types of writing. Before you commit yourself to a pen name there are many advantages and disadvantages to consider:


If you write several different genres you can distance yourself and your readers (i.e., if you write erotica and then begin to write literature essays you may be frowned upon for being associated with what is defined as "not proper literature"). This is where a pen name can be helpful, as no one (apart from the editor or publisher) will know the true author's identity.

If you dislike giving interviews, press releases or book signings, you can make it known that the name is a pen-name and therefore will not be asked to comply with such things (especially if you are a well-known author in another field of writing).

You can reinvent yourself--be someone else.


You directly will never be commended for a piece of work, as no one will know it is you who wrote it.

You will need to arrange a bank account in the pen-name for any royalties or payments. This can be difficult.

It is often confusing for editors if it is not made clear which is the real name and which name you want to use for your writing.

You will not be able to attend parties or book signings, press launches (only really available to celebrities or well-known writers).

You will never be recognised as the author.

Many writers choose to use a pen-name when they are starting out. In order to make their name they may have to resort to writing material they'd rather not lend their name to, should they become an established and well-known writer.

However, if you begin your writing career with erotica, and have no aspirations to branch out into the literature or essay writing genres then that's fine. It's basically like an unknown film star - when they are unknown they'll do anything to pay the rent and therefore often result to posing for glamour or topless/nude photographs. With a few exceptions, these actors never really make it big, as many producers aren't keen to work with an actor who could lose or discredit their reputation should the pictures be made public.

One thing to remember if you do choose to have a pen name is to remember it. It sounds ridiculous, but if you have several aliases for different publishers/works try to keep track of them all!