Friday, December 19, 2008


Q - Can you speak to Christian writers using pen names? Although much of Christian writing should be done with the "real" name, what if a writer chooses a pen name for fiction or uses one in the general market? How does this influence publication?

A - It is perfectly acceptable to use a pen name in most cases, but is generally not advisable unless you have a specific reason to do so. As a writer you want to build name recognition for your own name. There are a number of legitimate reasons for using a pen name, such as:

* To protect your identity and that of other people involved if you are writing on a sensitive subject.

* If you write in two widely different topic areas and you don't want to confuse your readers, such as Romance fiction and Bible studies.

* If you write in both the Christian market and the general market, you may want to use a pen name for one of those to avoid confusion.

* If you write a lot in one topic area for only a few different publications, the editors may want to use a pen name on some of the articles so it doesn't look like the same person is writing everything.

Those are some possibilites. If you want to use a pen name, be sure to include a cover letter to the editor that explains why. Most will be willing to honor that. On the manuscript you submit, put your own name in the upper, left-hand corner (your check will be made out to that name), and use the pen name in the byline.

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