Of all the stumbling blocks I knew I would have to overcome when it came to writing, choosing a “pen name” was something I never really worried about.  Sure, I never had any intention of publishing under my real name — especially since one of the genres I write in is erotic romance — but I always thought of it as something I would need to deal with in the future.  The far, far future that is still somewhere in the nebulous fantasy world of “someday,” as in someday, if I actually have a writing contract in hand, I’ll worry about it then.  However, the guidelines of one of the publishers I want to submit to specifically states that they expect you to include your pen name in the submission.

At least, that’s how I interpreted it.  Maybe they only intend for the already-published authors that are submitting work for their line to reveal their pen names, not a novice like myself.  But it got me to thinking… what would I choose as my pseudonym, anyway?

Hmmm.  First, I headed to trusty Google, to see what other writers said about picking a name.  Everything I read said that a pen name should be fairly short, easy to pronounce and spell, and the last name should start with a letter in the early part of the alphabet — this last part has more to do with potential shelf placement in bookstores than anything else.

The second guideline immediately ruled out the one vague idea I’d had for my pen name.  I’d thought about using my middle name, which is a variant spelling of the more common name, “Judy.”  That’s how it’s pronounced, at least, but when you spell it out, it could easily be mistaken for “Jude.” Are you confused yet? Yeah, me too, so that is definitely one name that would hurt more than help me.  The same guideline also pretty much eliminates the other idea I briefly had, of somehow incorporating part of my ethnic heritage (Japanese) into my name, unless I can find a Japanese name that non-Japanese could easily pronounce and spell.

So here I am, wasting time obsessing about this instead of polishing my manuscript as I should.  If I don’t get the manuscript in shape, then I really don’t have to pick a pen name, now, do I?  Passive avoidance at its finest.  But what to do now?

If all else fails, I may keep playing with another suggestion I saw for choosing a pseudonym — using the “Random Name Generator” on behindthename.com.  You can limit the results by country of origin, or have a name made from mythology, history or theology.  I haven’t seen one I would even remotely consider using.

I wonder if I could still get away with being called Anonymous…

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