When Should You Use A Pen Name Plus How To Make A Living With Your Writing

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Hey there!

Welcome back to Author Journey. My name is C. J. Anaya.

Today, we're going to discuss pen names and we're also going to get into ghost writing in general because that kind of goes hand in hand with pen names in some cases.

I’ve got a really good question on my Facebook page actually which is very nice if anybody wants to contact me there. You absolutely can leave me a message.

My Facebook page is called Author C.J. Anaya. Recently, someone asked me how I feel about pen names and whether she should get one.

She was hesitant about having it for fiction books and/or for nonfiction books.

My author name is actually a pen name. C.J. Anaya is a pen name.

To be perfectly honest with you, the only person who ever calls me C.J. is my dad and a good friend named Alex. Not really anything that's important to you, but obviously I overshare get used to it. I think you probably are by now if you've stuck around long enough. I tend to talk.

So when it comes to pen names, if you kind of want to keep things private for yourself then you might change up your name a little bit the way that I did.

Here are a few reasons why you might consider a pen name.


A name can carry a lot of weight depending on the genre you write in. You can also study the market and take a look at the different types of author names within specific genres. Get a feel for what looks and sounds right based on the types of author names on various bestselling books.

If you want to write a wonderful cozy mystery, then you might consider taking a look at all of the cozy mystery author names and seeing if you can get a feel for what those are like. Some people just use their real name while others use names they feel will carry a little more validity.

It can make a difference when influencing readers to buy your books just because it has the right feel.

For specific genres such as erotica, you might use a pen name that sounds wild and sexy like Ruby Dixon or Calista Skye.

Privacy And Anonymity

There are some people who are very uncomfortable having anybody know that they write within specific genres or that they write about controversial issues and may want to use a pen name to provide themselves a little privacy and anonymity.

In fact, my original publisher, when I was once traditionally published, was an erotica author, and she used a pen name because she was also a Sunday school teacher. She didn't want her career and the things she wrote about to be brought into the Sunday school setting. She didn't want to be attacked for it either.

I think that's understandable. I've known a couple of teachers who write erotica and were persecuted for it. One teacher was actually fired from her job because she wrote erotica. Obviously, discrimination of that kind is not okay so I can understand why people desire to remain a little anonymous.

If you are writing about things that conflict with your job or if you write about controversial subjects that other people are going to criticize you for, you might want to consider a pen name.

You're A Multi-Genre Author

Another reason you might consider using a pen name is simply because you're writing in a lot of different genres.

When you write in different genres, people associate your specific name with that specific style of book. They know what to expect from that particular author name and brand. I write young adult fantasy, but it isn't the only genre I write in. I also have a romantic comedy out, a few non-fiction books, and an adult, supernatural romance.

Now that I'm almost finished with the paranormal misfit series, I'm looking to start in on the spin-off series from The Healer, I'll be delving into the realm of mystery. One of the main characters in The Healer Series is Angie, that Hope's best friend. She has a gift for seeing a vision of someone's death when she touches their skin. I always thought it would be very interesting to take Angie and put her personality and her supernatural gift into a mystery setting and see what she can do with it. She catches obscure visions of people being murdered and she has to prevent them or solve them once they happen.

I'm so excited about it, but I really had to hold off on writing it and the thing about that is it's a different genre completely but it's also a follow up series to the other series that I've written.

My readers are invested in Angie and they're going to follow me over to that genre regardless of whether I have a different pen name or not. In fact, it would probably really confuse them if I switched my pen name since they already know who Angie is and that C.J. Anaya is the author who writes about her.

For me, I'm just gonna keep my name C.J. Anaya as I delve into the mystery genre for Angie's character. If I were to do a completely different genre with no ties to anything that I've written before, I would probably create a new pen name.

Outsourcing Books

I also use pen names for books that I don't write, and this is actually kind of a separate topic altogether because now I'm talking about outsourcing or hiring ghostwriters to write books for you. It's a smart way to get more intellectual property out there and to create multiple streams of income for yourself while you write yoru own books.

You essentially become your own publishing company by studying the book market, figuring out what fiction and non-fiction genres and subgenres are selling really well and then hiring a Ghostwriter on a site like upwork.com to write the book or books series for you.

You pay a one time fee for the book, you both sign a working contract that gives you the rights to that book or series, and then when they finish it, you have it edited, get a cover for it, and publish it yourself under your own account. I just hired a great ghostwriter to write a scifi romance series that will consist of ten books. I plan on publishing it under a pen name that I'll use to build a brand and following for any scifi romances I commission.

So I never put my own name or C.J. Anaya on anything I haven't written. I just use a pen name when I hire Ghostwriters. If you're interested in learning how to outsource your own books to increase your monthly royalties, I would take a look at K Money Mastery. It's the program that taught me this process and has helped me exponentially grow my own kindle publishing business, allowing me more time to pursue my own author business and write and publish my own books which is really all I want to do.

Sometimes as authors we have to think outside the box and create multiple and sustainable streams of income for ourselves. This is a great way to do that.

I hope these tips about pen names and the possibility of outsourcing your own books is something that helps you as you continue on through your own author journey.

Don't forget to take a look at K Money Mastery if you're interested in learning how to outsource your kindle books.