Why (and How) I Chose My Pen Name
You may notice that things look a little bit different around the blog these days. That’s because I’ve made a pretty big change: my name. And I built a whole new site to go along with it.
I’ve always intended on writing under a pen name, and I decided it was finally time to make the changeover. Here’s why I decided using a pen name was right for me along with an inside look into how I chose my nom de plume.
The primary reason I decided to write under a pen name was to separate my fiction writing from writing I do during my day job.
I don’t necessarily think my career as a magazine writer needs to be a secret, but since the articles I write at work are so different from my fiction, there’s no reason for them to be associated with each other, either. I wouldn’t want someone who has read my fiction to search my name and then read through an article on pharmacy automation because they think it might turn into a sci-fi adventure.
SEO and Shelf Placement
The other big reason I chose to write under a pen name is that there’s already a lot associated with my given name.
If you search for me on Google, there are three other people with the same name who come up before I do. While I could probably inch up in the search results over time, I’d rather have a clean slate. My new name is a lot more search engine friendly than my given name.
Similarly, there’s already a very famous author with whom I share a last name, and if I published under my real name, there’s a chance I’d be shelved right next to them. Since it’s not an author I particularly want to be associated with, I thought a pen name would be the way to go.
How I Chose My Pen Name
Even though I’ve known that I wanted to use a pen name for a long time, actually picking the name was harder than I thought it would be.
When I pick out character names, I usually just choose whatever I think sounds the coolest and fits the setting. The names don’t have any particular meaning. But for my own pen name, I didn’t want it to just be some random name that sounded cool.
I decided on “Bane” because it’s an old family name that I’ve always been fond of, but I wasn’t sure what the first name should be. For a while, I played around with another old family name for the first name, but it just didn’t feel right. Because it sounded so unfamiliar, it didn’t carry any weight for me.
Then, I thought about using my real first name with the new last name, but when I searched it I discovered there was already an author by that name. I didn’t want to step on her toes, so I settled on using my middle name, “Elizabeth.”
The result, “Elizabeth Bane,” is a name that resonates with me on a personal level but still gives me some separation from my non-author identity.
You can still find me at the same place on Twitter, but I’ve created a brand new writerly Instagram account if you want to keep up with me there as well!