Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pick my pen name


If you’re new here, I have a dilemma, and what better place to go than the blogosphere to solve my problems? My problem is simple: I have a number of exceptionally boring science publications. The science isn’t boring, but there’s something about the process of “just the facts, ma’am” that manages to desiccate a paper down to the common cure for insomnia.

And let’s face it, as a writer, I don’t want to be associated with science papers so boring even I fall asleep when I read them (and I really care about them!). And that means it’s time for a pen name.

But how does a person pick a pen name? I’ve seen some people just announce it, and I’ve seen people have contests, so I decided to go with a contest. It’s a simple thing, I’ve got a list of possible pen names (subject to publisher approval, of course) and a list of prizes. Vote for your favorite pen name, and comment below to be entered to win a prize of your choice! (and who doesn’t like prizes!)

See, easy as pie.

The poll is in the side bar and it will be open until May 19th at 11:59pm, and you have until then to enter for the prize. I know that people have different things that they want in life right now, so I thought I’d go ahead and put out a prize list that has something for everyone.

Here are the prizes:

A $25 dollar gift card for Amazon or Barnes and Noble (your choice)
A full beta read of your manuscript (up to 120k words). This is a beta read where I give you feed back on the overall arc of your story, characters, and emotional impact.
A line edit of your query and first thirty pages. This would include things like grammar and spelling, as well as an inclusion of
A custom binding of your manuscript (up to 120K words, they start to look lumpy after that). I will typeset, print and bind your manuscript into one book (cover paper of your choice from my collection).
And if none of those prizes strike your fancy, I’ll donate $25 dollars to Crits for Water in your name (or even sponsor you for a Kat-Crit, if you’d prefer).

How about those prizes! One lucky winner will get to pick whichever prize they want.

Now, since there’s no way for me to check to see if you actually voted, this is all on the honor system. Comment to enter and vote for a pen name (you can even vote more than once if you’d like). Anyhow, this contest is helping me out, so you don’t need to follow to enter (though, I’d love it if you did). Just comment and vote. Easy peasy. (do make sure that you leave your email in the comment so I can contact you in case you win, I promise not to spam you).

Now for the names: It’s hard to come up with names that seem like real names but don’t have five thousand other people with that same name. And names have power. People have a lot invested in names, so I don’t want to just have any old name. I spend forever picking names for my main characters, so I usually go generic until a name really catches my eye. Here’s the list of names to vote for:

Bridgett Ardin
Mithryl Kitras
Rena Rockford
Roslin Falkirk
Legara Leoria

And of course, if none of these seems like a good name, feel free to make a suggestion in the comments or hit none of the above. Thanks for voting!

28 comments:

  1. I feel for you - choosing a pen name is a complete pain. I found mine on my own, but I think having a contest is a cool idea! I am going to vote now :D

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    1. Yeah, naming is such a strange journey. I'd always planned on it so there's that at least.

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  2. I voted. I hope you like your new name, whatever it may be :-)

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    1. Thanks, I actually cheated a bit. I only put forth names that I could manage as my "image."

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  3. Okay, I'm voting for the first one. :) I like the way it sounds. (I will vote in the appropriate place, too.) I wouldn't do the second, it's a bit hard to say, but I like all the others. :)

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    1. Yes, the second one is a bit odd, and I put it in more to remember my kitty who I loved dearly. But in reality, it would be a sort of hard one since the last name doesn't roll right off the tongue (though I toyed with Mithryl Evans, or Mithryl Ebbing).

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  4. I'd long ago toyed with using a name I’ve had kicking around the web for years as my pen name. It wasn't until I saw three other authors with the same name as my real one (one of them a writer of paranormal erotica), that I made the final choice.

    My pen name: Aldrea [K] Alien ^_^ (Yes, I'm being smart on the initials. How can I resist when it says A.K.A?)

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    1. I love the initials. I was only careful to make sure that I didn't overlap with fifty million people. Not that it's a real issue, but it'd be nice to have a name not shared by a ton of people. Though I can totally see how you didn't want to be associated with paranormal erotica if it isn't your genre.

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    2. I write mostly fantasy (and some scif-fi), which isn't too bad I suppose. Still, four authors is three too many in my eyes.
      On the other hand, I've got one paranormal that, I suppose has a little bit of heat in one chapter, and that makes it worse as I feel it comes rather too close.

      After some staring, think I like Bridgett Ardin and Roslin Falkirk the most.

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    3. I totally agree, four is just too many. There's actually another person with my first two initials and my same last name in a closely related subject of study. People confuse our work (despite it not being very similar) all the time. For the longest time, I thought things were wide open in my name field, but then just a couple months ago three new authors with my last name cropped up... oh well.

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  5. have an interesting space, a great pleasure to read you.
    if you like the poetry I invite you to my space.
    happy day.
    a greeting.

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  6. I like both Rena Rockford and Roslin Falkirk, but my favorite is to mix it up and make it Roslin Ardin.

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    1. Roslin Ardin is good. If this ends in a dead heat, I may have to take bits and pieces from all of them...

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  7. I really like the Roslin one. :)

    I just started a collab project with a fellow writer. A contemp YA. Neither of us write Contemp usually so we're both taking on pen names. I chose mine by thinking of a character in a musical that has significant meaning for me (I played her :) haha) and changed it up a little :)

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    1. I play a bunch of RPGs, so I've tried on a lot of names (one of them is actually from a game I used to play in). I love that you went with a pen name because you're trying something new. That's great.

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  8. What a fun way to choose a name! I really like most of them, so I had a hard time choosing, but choose I did!

    I'd be thrilled with any of these prizes, but I think I'd most like the B&N gift card or the donation to Water for Crits.

    Any of these names would be excellent - you'll be set however the poll goes! :)

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    1. Thanks Daisy!
      This has been more fun than nerve wracking (which was the point).

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  9. I've been contemplating Pen names. I *cough* may be writing a collab with someone that is a different genre for us. I think it might be hard to go by a different first name. So even though I have a cool Pen name picked out I'm thinking about going by my first initials and my own last name. I like Rena Rockford for that reason. You still get to be you. ;0)

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    1. Yeah, there's definitely a certain appeal to keeping the first name, especially when people yell at you across the room. It helps if you'll actually look when you hear your "name."

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  10. I picked Bridgett Ardin becaise I've always loved the name Bridgett and I think it sounds more like a real name compared to a pen name.

    Andrea

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    1. Thanks for entering. And yeah, I know some of them sound pretty outlandish, but the idea wasn't to hide my identity, just to keep people from getting lost in my crazy science stuff.

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  11. I picked Bridgett Ardin. Like the way it sounds and the "A" last name means your books will be shelved on the top row, easy for browsing readers to pick up and look at :)

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  12. I voted for Bridgett Ardin and Roslin Falkirk, those both sound like appealing, professional author names to me. :)

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  13. I like Rena Rockford...easy to remember and you can keep your first name. And I like Rena...you seem like a Rena =) I've thought about the pen name thing...mostly because my last name gets slaughtered (and made fun of a lot), but I can never decide...maybe I should try the contest thing too.

    Good luck!!!

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  14. Okay Rena, I have to know, are you the Rena who got two requests on YA chatlit's contest? If so, congratulations! That's very exciting. :)

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