Why Pseudonyms?

By Mary Jo

Today's Ask A Wench was inspired by a question from regular reader Pamela DG, who wanted to know why authors use pseudonyms.  I said the answer was complicated and worthy of a blog. For asking the question, Pamela will get a book from me. 

Writing with a pseudonym, a name not one's own, can occur for any number or reasons.  The Wenches explain why:

From Nicola Harlequin-cz-chuda-snoubenka-105

I’ve never written under a pseudonym. This was not a conscious decision. I was literally so naïve when I was first published that it did not cross my mind to consider it. This seems remarkable to me now but I had had no experience of the publishing world other than a godmother who wrote religious books under her own name. I quickly came to regret my naivety. For a number of years I wrote historical romance for Mills & Boon alongside working as an academic registrar in a university. One day a mischievous colleague read out a passage from one of my books in a meeting, which was quite embarrassing. I wasn’t ashamed of the books or that I had written them but I didn’t want my writing and my other work life to cross over.

Once I started to write full time it didn’t matter at all and it’s never really given me any problems since. There has only been one odd occasion when a publisher kept referring to Nicola Cornick as my pseudonym and refused to accept that it wasn’t!  That said, if I was starting over again knowing what I do now, I’d probably use a pseudonym. I don’t dislike my name but it does give you the opportunity to call yourself something you’ve always wanted to be! One of the reasons I like my Czech editions is that I love being called Cornickova!  

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