As I already mentioned in my About page when I decided to start blogging I decided to go with a pen name: Samantha Tule. I ended up choosing to do that for a few reasons.
First off, when it comes to using the internet in general I like my privacy. Even if you did know my real know you probably couldn’t find me on Facebook. I just feel generally safer having a certain level of control over what information is available to the public. Now if you think about a wanna-be blogger who is thinking about adding wanna-be author to her title, it just doesn’t make any sense. I mean if the only people who are going to read what I have to say are going to be my current friends and family, the whole idea of trying to publish just gets a bit silly. (Not to mention that all of this might just go no where so then said friends and family will be none the wiser). So this new identity gives me a chance to connect to the whole world of readers and writers in a way my real name can’t.
The other big driver for me was branding. If you google Samantha Tule, it’s now pretty much all of my stuff that you will find. If you found me here, you can very easily find me at my other blog for book reviews, on Goodreads or on Twitter. Since I put some effort into picking out my name, I knew that I was going to be able to use it pretty consistently. I don’t have to worry about being Jane Smith8 in one place and JaneSmith811 in another.
In terms of publishing, which is the general goal, I had already done some high level research when considering a pen name. I found out that Amazon is easy to work with when it comes to using pen names. It keeps your identity private, but still lets you get paid in a legitimate way. So that was good enough for me to get started back in February.
Now that I want to get more serious about getting started, I started to think more about copyright. I mean if no one knows who I really am, how could I defend it if it starts getting stolen? There is actually spelled out quite clearly by the US Copyright Office. They give you options for whether or not you want them to know who you really are. At this point I’m guessing that I would rather be safe than sorry and let them know who I am (and just hope no one out in the internet world cares enough to try and hunt down my real name). In reality I probably should worry about getting something worth copyrighting before worrying to much about how to do it.
So what do you think about pen names? Do you think it does more harm than good?