Just wondered how many of you use your actual name as your author name or if you prefer a pen name.

I chose the pen name, Morgan Mandel. Not that my actual name is that bad, but lots of people seem to not be able to spell it or think it starts with a different letter than it does.
I wanted an easy name to spell, easy to remember and find on the shelves.

Since my first book is totally in a male point of view, when I picked a name I chose an androgenous first name so guys reading it wouldn't feel embarrassed being seen reading a book by a woman author. Still, the copyright does show my actual name for the Doubting Thomases, so I can say, yes, I really did write that book!

What do the rest of you do?

Morgan Mandel

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I use my married name (Julie Lewthwaite) for my business books, mainly because I write those as part of my job and that's the name I'm known by at work. However, when it comes to writing stories, I use the name I was born with (Julie Wright). No big deal, it just seems right to me to do that. Neither of them, however, are especially 'good' names, in that neither is either memorable or unusual. So perhaps I should choose something new... always assuming I had something of note to print it on!
Julie Wright seems like a nice easy name to remember and spell.
Morgan
I use my real name for my medieval noir only because I wrote it first. But because my new mystery series is a completely different genre (gay mystery), I went with a pen name. They are two different brands. For the second series I agonized over the name. Should I use a name with initials? A man's name? Or a woman's? I polled my pals and they said that they wouldn't mind reading a gay novel by a woman (www.skylerfoxemysteries.typepad.com)

No one can spell JERI correctly or even WESTERSON, for that matter. A poor thing but mine own. Haley Walsh is probably just as tough, and we're both at least at the back of the alphabet and on the shelf together. It's only fair.

I had an interesting discussion about this with my critique group. Should I use an initialed name for the medieval noir, too? The implication being that I might be a man and therefore it would be worth reading for men. But that just didn't come off well with me. I want to be as honest as I can. I honestly don't think Readers look at the name and decide, "Oh dear, that's written by a man and I don't think I can handle it" or even "That's written by a woman and therefore not worth my time." The title, the cover, the blurb. I'm still hoping that this is what matters the most.
I thought about using a different name for my romantic comedy which hasn't been released yet, since it will be totally different than my mystery, but I want to keep what fans I have and not get them more confused.
Morgan Mandel
If it's not too different a style then that's okay. But I didn't want people who liked medieval mysteries to be knocked off their chairs when they picked up another "Jeri Westerson" mystery expecting medieval when it turns out to be a contemporary amateur sleuth who is gay. It's all about branding. If I come up with another medieval character, I will use my "Jeri Westerson" brand for that as well. Too bad I couldn't think of one because it's a whole other marketing thing.
I just go by what I observe on the train and at the office where the men seem to gravitate toward male writers in their choices. Which do you think a guy would buy first? A book by James Patterson or Mary Higgins Clark?
It's good to know you have an open mind. I wonder how many guys think like you. At any rate, I'm happy with my choice of alter persona, though I realize anyone who does any bit of research won't be fooled if they see my website. I like to think, though, that my choice made some difference.
Morgan
I wonder if it makes a difference if you're male or female, whether you use a pen name or not. Do guys feel less threatened using their own names?
Morgan Mandel
People will always find something wrong and latch onto it with glee. If I find a typo or small inaccuracy in someone's book, I wouldn't think of mentioning it to the person and making them feel bad, but many would.
Morgan
Hi Morgan!

I use my real name, including my maiden name there in the middle. I go by 'Tammy' in my day to day life, but 'Tamara' seems more appropriate for an author of violent forensic novels.
Your full name has a certain sound of authority to it. Also, some of the best authors use a middle instead of just the first and last names.
I think you're right about not using Tammy. I have a hard time picturing a Tammy writing something violent.
Morgan
Real name. As an academic, I was asked whether I wanted to go with a pen name before my first book came out as though I might have something to be ashamed of. Of course, I might have something to be ashamed of in my writing, but I'll own up to my own stories at least.

Of course, that said, I'm considering a whole second series. That might need a pen name. We'll see.

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