Thursday, January 3, 2013

What's In a Name? What's Your Answer Wants to Know.

I'm back again at the start of 2013 with my What's Your Answer monthly post where you, the readers, get to chime in and answer questions I pose to you. Please use only one URL in your signature when answering in the comment section.

First Question: 
What name do you use as a writer - a pen name or actual name? 

My Answer: 
I use a pen name. Morgan Mandel is not my actual name, but I did register it as a Service Mark with the State of Illinois to make it legal.

Second Question:
How and why did you choose that name?

My Answer: 
There were several reasons why I chose a pen name, and Morgan Mandel in particular. First of all, my actual last name was more often than not misspelled by people who were not close family or friends. With that obstacle, I figured I had small chance of readers finding me if they tried to search for my actual name.

I decided to pick an easy to spell, easy to understand name, which would also be easy to write when I did autographs. With the advent of the digital age, the autograph concern has become almost non-existent, except for book launch parties.


I chose the first name of Morgan for more than one reason. First of all, I liked my dog, Morgan's name. Though she passed over the Rainbow Bridge more than eight years ago, her name still lives on!

Another reason I chose Morgan is it's an androgynous name, meaning it could refer to a man or woman. For example, Morgan Fairchild and Morgan Freeman are both popular actors with that first name. My first book Two Wrongs, contains two male points of view. At the time, I wasn't taking any chances of losing a male audience if they happened to discover a woman wrote the book. Now, that aspect is of small concern to me.

As far as the last name goes, I just wanted a short name that sounded good with the first one. The choice had nothing to do with Howie Mandel, as some people seem to think. (g)

Now It's Your Turn. What's Your Answer? Please tell us in the comment section.
 
Morgan Mandel writes thrillers, mysteries and romances, depending on her mood. 

Her most current releases are the humorous romance, Her Handyman, and the thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.

Coming soon is Blessing or Curse, second in the Always Young Trilogy.

Find all her books at:
http://www.morganmandel.com
Twitter Handle: @MorganMandel

26 comments:

  1. I have used my real name in the past but am now using a pen name since I really can't stand my real first name and no longer want people to use it. My pen name is based on my nickname, my former high school, and my married surname. I felt my school had more to do with shaping my early writing than my parents did, so chose that over my maiden name.

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  2. I write under my real name, Roz Morris. No hiding! I've ghosted nearly a dozen novels so I guess I'm more eager to be recognised for the work I write as me!
    As for the Twitter ID (which you see here as my Google ID too), that's another story...

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  3. Hey Roz, what a teaser! I want the rest of that story!

    Kathryn Craft is my real name, although many think I made it up since it's just TOO good of a name for a developmental editor! When I was a dance critic I wrote under the name Kathryn Williams (first husband), then Kathryn Williams Craft for continuity when I remarried. But once I started writing fiction, and since one of the projects in development was a memoir, I thought I'd do my sons a kindness and use a name that distanced me a bit from them.

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  4. I wrote my first book under my own name, but the second was published under a pseudonym. Combining my grandmother's maiden names, I came up with nom de plume that could be either male or female. Like Morgan, I don't want to be stereotyped because of my gender. Therefore, the pen name shall remain.

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  5. My name is Linda Hoenigsberg. I don't like my last name (just being honest here) and it's also hard to spell and especially hard to pronounce (it's "henigsberg." I have always LOVED my mother's maiden name...Lochridge, and I always thought that if I ever wrote a book I would be Linda Lochridge. I am a psychotherapist by profession, and I am writing a memoir "one blog post at a time" at www.lindalochridge.com. I don't want my clients googling me and reading this so easily. When I publish it in book form, it will be Linda Lochridge.

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  6. PS...I did not mean to publish the above post as "Anonymous." Not sure what happened there. Hopefully, this one will tell who I am.

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  7. I love hearing about all of your choices so far!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. My pen name is Gabina and I earned this name when my sister and I decided to have some fun one day. She wanted to find out more about an expensive car and dared me to call the dealership to find out prices, colors and models. I used the name Mrs. Ferndalina Gabina Symthe and I learned that the car and model came in every color but purple and magenta. I called back to see if they had those two and of course who makes a car in magenta or even Fuchsia. The following day I called her office and gave my name as the one above and confused her assistant. When she arrived and asked if she had any calls of course he mentioned mine but could not pronounce the name. She cracked up when she heard that I really did make the calls and she decided that the name Gabina fit. I miss her and whenever she called she referred to me as Gabina. She is the Tillie in my children's series and of course I am Bertha. Gabina is the name I use on my blogs and when I want to not be just plain fran.

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  9. I published my first book under my real name, but for branding purposes, I chose a pen name for the second one. I'm already kicking myself in the butt, because juggling separate websites and social media accounts is a pain.

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  10. With the exception of an early mystery that I co-authored and we picked a pen-name, I use my own name for all my books. Like Cheryl mentioned, I imagine it can be quite a challenge to promote various names. I have a hard time just keeping up with what is entailed with promoting one.

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  11. I have always used my real name. A lot of early sales were to friends and family. I guess if I had used Steven King or Jon Grissam as a pen name the sales would have been even better, but there is always that nasty legal thing.

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  12. I should have gone with the pen name once suggested to me: Lobsley Polshavanich ... but noooo, I had to stick with my real name because I thought it was unique ... I have since learned that you can hardly shake a tree without 4 or 5 Chris Hudsons falling out. Who knew?

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  13. I write under my own name, Lorna Collins. I think it meets most of the criteria stated above. I hated my maiden name (Lund), but when I married I decided it was the perfect name for an author. I still do.

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  14. I like the idea of pen names, and I think it's a particularly good idea for authors who write in different genres. I've thought of using my German grandmother's name for kidlit, since she influenced me at an early age with regard to books and reading. I need to set up an author page on Facebook this year and Dani Gee really resonates with me. I learned quite by accident through my blog book tours platform that dropping the last name offers a marvelous level of privacy! That's more important to me than anonymity. I do think the two concepts are a bit different, since social media can become quite invasive. Something to think about.

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  15. Yes, pen names come in handy for anonymity, but with the Internet and so many other ways to find out who we really are, it's almost hopeless to be obscure and hidden. If I ever get famous, I guess I'll have to hire bodyguards. (g)

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

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  16. I use my real name for books. However, when I write from a male point of view in short story fiction I generally use initials: J. P. Seewald.

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  17. I have always used pseudonyms for my fiction, largely to keep it separate from my professional technical writing. When I began writing novels, I took on the pen name Lior Samson, representing a break from the past and the beginning of a new identity as a writer. Lior is my Hebrew name and Samson was my father's birth surname, so it's a pen name but not really a pseudonym. I now have five novels and a short story collection published under that name, and it has built up something of a brand identity for my fiction.

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  18. P.S. I should add that another distinguishing aspect of my pen name is that, despite it's simplicity and memorability, there only seem to be two Lior Samsons in the world with any noticeable footprint on the Web, an important issue for authors. My poor frien James Anderson, who writes under his own name, competes with a slew of other writers with the same name and hundreds of thousands with a Web presence.

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  19. It's interesting to learn how some of you come up with your writing names. Also, yes, when considering a writing name, it does help to pick one that not too many people are using, so as to avoid confusion!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

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  20. I use a pen name because my last name crosses peoples' eyes. My initials (A.J.) are really my initials but my "last name" (Bradley) is my father's first name (since his last name is so incomprehensible!).

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  21. It does make sense to use a pen name when people can't understand or spell your actual name!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I use my real name, although if I'd taken time to think it over, I might have gone with a different first name. "Helen" sounds like a name from the 19th century. And, contrary to rumors, I am not that old. I do like my last name, Ginger, since it's a bit rare. At a Q&A/booksigning recently, I was asked where Ginger originated. I had no clue and just told the guy that I'd married it. Turns out it's British.

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  23. I use my real name, although if I'd taken time to think it over, I might have gone with a different first name. "Helen" sounds like a name from the 19th century. And, contrary to rumors, I am not that old. I do like my last name, Ginger, since it's a bit rare. At a Q&A/booksigning recently, I was asked where Ginger originated. I had no clue and just told the guy that I'd married it. Turns out it's British.

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  24. Great question, Morgan--or whoever you really are :)

    I use my real name David DeLee for my crime-thriller writing, which I view as my bread-and-butter line (for now, anyway) and was how I started.

    I use a pen name for my fantasy titles--David Miller. Miller is a family name on my father''s side.

    And, I chose David Westover for my science fiction work. Again, becasue Westover is a family name (this time on my mother's side).

    All three names are simple and easy to spell and remember. I used David for all three because I was afraid I'd never remember to respond to anything else. Chris. Hey, Chris, I'm talking to you.

    The reason I use pen names for my other work is so I can build brand recognition and not confused my readers. I want them to know a David DeLee story is some kind of crime/mystery/thriller story, while Miller's titles are fantasy &/or supernatural, and Westover writes science fiction.

    If fans cross over that's great, but I don't want them to be surprised (and possibly disappointed) because they got something other than what they expected.

    Happy new year to you and everyone here.

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  25. I thought of using a different name for each of my genres, but decided against it. That was at the advice of others who said since I'd built up a following under one name, I shouldn't waste that advantage.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. I use my maiden name because everyone said using my married name (Leszczuk) would be professional suicide. I went with my initials because another author was already published under my first name and I didn't want the confusion.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep.

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