Monday, June 8, 2009

My Name Is...

So, who am I? What name should I use when penning my novels? Should I use my "real" name or a pen name? Pros and cons involved? How do you decide what your author name will be?

I thought long and hard about this in 1999 when I sold my first book, a nonfiction ebook to Online Originals. The book is a ghostwritten autobiography of a speaker for a women's shelter and almost all the names in the book have been changed to protect my subject.

What about me? Did I need to protect myself? After considering some factors involved using my own name, I chose to use a pen name. Protecting myself, along with the subject of my book, seemed the wiser course to take.

My "real" last name is an Italian name and usually mispronounced and/or not spelled correctly. People seem to add extra letters/accent the wrong letters all the time, even if I've pronounced it for them. So, eliminating any confusion about my last name also appeared to be a smart career move.

Marianne Stephens has served me well, both as the name for nonfiction works and mainstream romance books. One's kinda long to put on promotional items, email address, website, business cards, etc. And, one thing I noticed at book signings. Authors are seated alphabetically. At the last big book signing I went to, I was in the second row from the back of the room. That meant people started at the "A's" and some never got to the last few rows before their arms were already full of books.

Hmm. Having a last name towards the end of the alphabet didn't work well for me.

When I started writing erotic romance books, I decided to use a different pen name. Separating my mainstream romance books from my erotic romance books seemed to be a positive way to keep readers interested. Some people don't like erotic books so would have a choice of visiting my two websites for my two names.

The pen name, April Ash, didn't take long to formulate. I wanted a short last name at the beginning of the I'd be in that front row at major book signings and Ash works for that. April, a shorter first name, compliments the last name. And, this name is a lot easier to put on those promotional items, etc., I mentioned above!

That's who I am. Me, myself, and I. All three names suit my purposes and lifestyle.

Marianne Stephens/April Ash
Visit my websites at: and for more information about my books!


Amber Skyze said...

I wish I'd given it more thought when I chose my pen name. :)

Anny Cook said...

I wanted something easy to spell and easy to remember...

Mona Risk said...

I just use my own name. Hubby didn't want me to use any other name.

Fran Lee Romance said...

Excellent! Great blog!

Marianne Stephens said...

Thanks for the comments! It's interesting to find out how authors decide on what name to go with a "real" name or a pen name takes some thought and consideration.