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:~: Monday, September 04, 2006 :~:

Mild Mannered Alter Ego

You're all so sweet. Thanks for the words of encouragement. Believe me, when I can, I'll be posting my news right here. So stay tuned...

That said, I've been giving a lot of thought to the psuedonym issue. The name I use in my writing is my maiden name - Elisabeth Naughton. When I first started writing I decided I wanted to publish under my maiden name and keep my married (legal) name under wraps. There were a variety of reasons, but most related to my kids. I talked it over with my DH and he agreed. Since then, I've established my web presence with my maiden name, have met a lot of fellow writers under this name, feel comfortable with it (I also like the way it sounds).

But (and there's always a but), if I'm going to change it, now is the time. Before I sign any sort of contracts. I've reserved both domain names just in case I ever changed my mind. And I wouldn't have given it a lot of thought except that my DH made a comment the other day about my not wanting to use his name in my publishing career. He's very proud of everything I've done, and he has a lot of faith in my career. And while he's never come right out and said it, I think a part of him feels bad that I haven't used his name.

So I'm taking a poll. (Although I'm not telling you what my married legal last name is, so that might skew your answers). What do you think? Maiden name? Married name? Has the name issue ever been something you've debated? And if so, how did you come to your answer?


Blogger Christine Keach said...

I've debated between my legal name and a pen name on and off for years. I settled it by deciding to write in 2 different genres and using both. But enough about me.

I think you need to pick what you're most comfortable with. If your hubby is that hurt, use your married name. I know a few people who had to use pen names and a few that absolutely wanted to protect their families and chose to use a pen name. Really, if you think about it, in this day and age if someone wants to find out your real, legal name then they'll find it.

Ultimately, which name sounds more marketable? Which is easier to say and spell? Does your married name fit with your genre? When you're winning awards and cruising around the States for booksignings, which name would you want splashed across the world?

Only you can answer this question, though. Good luck!

4:30 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

I'll be using a pen name.

This is strickly because of privacy. I think using your real name makes you more of a public commodity-- if that makes sense. I want to keep some distance between myself and my writing persona.

True-- someone who is seriously determined can take steps to find out who a pen name actually belongs too. But most people aren't going to try. I also think that you seriously need to look at protecting your identity as much as you can, and from the get go.

There are weird people out there. And they don't just focus on the famous authors. I have a friend who sold a series of sexy romantic suspense. The books did well, but didn't make her a star. They did, however, make it too a lot of prisons. She gets a ton of fan mail from male prisoners now-- and frankly some of them are scary as hell. Several of them have mentioned coming out to met her once they are released.

I've had authors who have been in this business for a long time say don't publish under your own name, don't use your own name for anything in the business, use a post office box in the next big town as your business address. They are very cautious-- and from the sound of things they have cause to be,

4:39 PM  
Blogger Paty Jager said...

I figure if I'm proud of my work, why hide behind a fake name. In your case it isn't a fake name, but your original name. Your maiden name does flow off the tongue and sound more like the genre you write, but then if you go with your maiden name - it doesn't matter what it is - if people like your writing they will look for what ever name you write under and buy your book.

So, I'm not much help. LOL I think it's something you need to talk over with your dh and see which he sees as fitting your work and which one is more marketable. He's a bright guy and will help you make the right decision.

8:21 PM  
Blogger wavybrains said...

I'm still debating this one myself. Luckily I probably have lots of time before this is an issue. I like your "current" name. I'd have a talk with DH, ask him. We do live in a fairly smallish town though (not that hard to find people), and I'd take that into consideration. Given the age of your kids, I'd probably go with the maiden for now. There have been many authors with reissues under a different name once they got so big or a different house.


8:32 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

My husband wants me to publish under a pen name. He doesn't like the idea of people knowing my real name and hounding me (yeah, he thinks I'll be a big name writer, what a sweetie :)). I've done everything under my real name up to now, including my website, because I felt strange about using a pen name. I wrote my book, and I stand by it, sort of thing, but doubts are beginning to creep in. Maybe I'll change my mind and go with a pen name. It is something I need to give a lot of thought to.

3:52 AM  
Blogger Karmela Johnson said...


Your privacy concerns about your children are extremely valid and prudent. You never know who's out there monitoring.

6:38 AM  
Blogger TJBrown said...

I love your name. Much better than Teri Brown. HA!

Hope to hear good news from you soon!

9:23 AM  
Blogger Lisa Pulliam said...

Personally, I preferred my maiden name for the potential kids issue and others. But so far I've been using my married name. Unfortunately, if something happens to the marriage - you've gotten into a sticky situation. So that's another reason to use maiden. Unless you get divorced and you go back to your maiden, then it may be better to use married. I know, that doesn't make sense ;-)

You may end up not using either! I know of a couple of writers who made their web presence using one or the other, but the publisher wanted another name.

I think I'll use Lisa Roberts - talk about good positioning in the book stores ;-)

2:23 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Lisa, LOL, I followed that. What does that say about the two of us??? I hope not that we share the same brain.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Good points, Christine. I think both my maiden and married names are equally easy to pronounce and spell. I think my maiden name is more unique though, which could count in my favor. I haven't met many other authors with the same last name, whereas my married name is much more common.

Theresa - scary story. And a good point. I also write sexy RS. Definitely something to keep in mind.

Paty, I think my DH is a smart guy, too. He's been a great support for me, and I'll definitely listen to his opinion (should he decide to give it to me).

Bethany and Michelle - well, this is something I "thought" I'd figured out long ago. Guess not. ;)

10:20 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Karmela - good point. And the one I keep coming back to.

Teri - I like your name!! Are you going to pub under Teri Brown or TJ Brown?

10:21 PM  
Blogger Edie said...

Eli, your friends, neighbors, etc. will probably buy your books if you use the name they know you by. That's something to consider.

I've never considered using anything other than my real name. I'm proud of what I write and am not worried about stalkers. I have a dog who barks a lot, lol.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Lynn Raye Harris said...

This is an issue I think about a lot. I didn't want to start blogging under a pseudonym, so I used my legal name when I set up my website and blog. My maiden name is not very pretty and doesn't flow off the tongue. My married name is too plain jane unless I include my middle name, like I do.

So, I vacillate. I don't need to make a decision just yet, but I know it will happen one day. And then I worry that if I choose a pseudonym, I have to start shifting the contacts and any web presence I've made to a different name. :(

5:01 PM  
Blogger Piper Lee said...

IMHO You should keep it Elisabeth Naughton. It's a totally professional sounding name.

It flows/rolls off the tongue very nicely. (Okay, watch my tongue... Elisabeth Naughton, EEELLLIIISSSAAABBBEEETTHHHH NAUGHTON. see how nice that rolls off my tongue? Makes your name sound sooo sexy doesnt' it?) roflmao!!

As you know, I prefer to change everything. That's why I'm Piper Lee in writing, blogging and business. It makes me feel safer for myself and my family. (NO NUT JOBS ALLOWED!) Plus I like it way better than my boring name.

So there you have it. Keep it Elisabeth Naughton. You know I'm right. *G*

7:20 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hmmm...something to ponder, Edie. Of course, my friends all know my maiden name, so they'll still know to look for me. But it does leave the question, do I really want my neighbors knowing exactly what I write? (LOL)

8:38 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Lynn Raye I really like that. Don't change a thing. It sounds very "authorly".

8:40 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Okay, Piper. You just tipped the scales. EELLLIIISSSAAABBBEEETTHHHH NAUGHTON it is.

(That might be awfully long on the cover of a book)

8:41 PM  
Blogger Lynne Simpson said...

Hi, Elisabeth. :-) I followed your link from Theresa's and LaDonna's blog.

I think Elisabeth Naughton is a gorgeous name! It'll look great on the cover of a book. I understand your concerns, though, and I think using your maiden name was a smart move.

I go back and forth on the whole pen name issue. Lynne Simpson is my married name, and I've used it for years in my day job. So far, I'm also using it for writing, but I keep having all these second thoughts about it.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

I write under my "birth name" (what I prefer to call my "maiden name"--LOL), and I have two pen names--Tess Hudson for thrillers, and Liza Conrad for teens/YAs. On the one hand, my parents LOATHE my pen names because they love when their friends call them and say they bought my latest Erica Orloff book in Costco, and no one ever remembers what my pen names are.

But . . . I prefer the anonymity in my private life. I have never, ever thanked my significant other by last name in any of my books--I've blogged that he's Hispanic and my children's names are different from mine--but not what that name is. Not two weeks after Spanish Disco came out three or four years ago, a Connecticut stockbroker somehow, doing an awful lot of Googling, found me and sent me a rather extravagent and weird gift via Fed Ex on a Saturday. It was so large, they needed a hand truck. I had not corresponded with him other than to thank him in ordinary gracious fashion (a couple of lines) for the fan email he sent my publisher. I am not famous by any stretch. I am not a model or beautiful (well, inside I think I am lovely). I am a suburban mom of FOUR. The crazies are out there. Trust me! LOL! Go for the pen name.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

Congrats on your news, Elisabeth! I jumped over here from MM and just kept reading...

Call me crazy, but nut jobs are just as likely to come after us for reasons totally unrelated to our writing as they are because of it. And I don't think there are as many as media and suspense novels make it seem. Maybe I'm naive--I just, personally, don't want such concerns to direct my life.

I have heard as many authors UNHAPPY that they took a pen name as glad. If you do it, you have to be certain it's for YOUR reasons, and you're satisfied with what you choose and why.

Good luck!

6:24 PM  

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