Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a lovely long weekend. Here in the UK, the sun is finally shining after four days of rain — just in time for us all to go back to work, of course.
Some of you may know that Talli Roland is a pen name. I started off writing non-fiction under my real name, Marsha Moore, and since my fiction was with the same publisher, they suggested writing under a different name. I’m not sure now this was strictly necessary, but I wasn’t strongly opposed (and I’ve always wanted to choose my own name!) so I decided to go with it.
I’m often asked how I came up with my pen name, so I thought I’d give a few pointers on how to choose the right one.
- Think long and hard about whether you really need a pen name. Building up a new author identity involves a lot of work, from blogging to tweeting to Facebooking. Many authors who write opposing genres choose to use pen names; this makes perfect sense to me, as they’re appealing to different markets.
- Make sure your name ‘matches’ your genre. I chose the first name Talli because I write light women’s fiction. I wanted something fun and playful. I definitely wouldn’t have picked that name for crime.
- Maintain a sense of emotional connection. The surname Roland is my mum’s last name. I could have picked something totally different, but Talli Roland is still an element of me — I wanted to keep a familial tie.
- Build up your online identity with branding in mind. Developing a new persona gives you a unique opportunity to create a character that will appeal to your target market, while still staying true to your real self. My tagline for Talli Roland is ‘I drink coffee. I write. Then I have wine’ (all true)! There’s more to me than that (sort of), but when I’m blogging and tweeting as Talli, I try to remember my tagline.
- Decide who you’re going to be in real life. Pen names clash with reality when people who know you as your online persona meet you in the flesh! If you’re a member of a professional organisation where you’re going to be interacting with writers on a regular basis, decide from the get-go if you want to be known by your pen name or your real name. As a member of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association, I decided straight away that I would be known as Talli. Why? Well, I have so much trouble matching other members’ pen names with their real names that I decided to make things simple. I want people to remember my name and, hopefully, seek out my books, too.
Do you have a pen name? If so, how did you choose it?