To me, this issue comes down to fear. Sometimes the fear has sound basis. Sometimes not. These are things to consider.
Here is a simple fact: Eventually, the author of your book and your blog will be revealed (or need to be revealed) if you are successful. Or someone will figure it out. So, one way or another, you won’t remain anonymous forever. With that in mind, I usually say, “Use your own name.” I have other reasons as well.
First thought, let’s look at the reasons why you might want to use a pen name. During a blog-to-book coaching session, a client of mine told me about the idea he had for her book, but said she wanted to publish the book under a pen name. When I asked himwhy, she had some good reasons:
- The topic was on a totally different topic.
- He was worried what his friends and family might think.
- He didn’t know how the book might affect his day job.
I asked him if he wanted to do anything in conjunction with the book, such as speaking or coaching. Basically, I wanted to know if he wanted to build a business around his book. As it turned out, the topic of this book represented his true passion and purpose. He really wanted to make a difference in people’s lives by writing this book–and several more after it–and speaking to people and working with them as a consultant and a coach.
It would be impossible for him to do that if he wrote under a pen name. I told him as much.
I suppose you could make up a name and tell everyone that is who you are–live a false life under a false identity. As I told her, it’s likely that eventually someone will find out who she really is.
Isn’t it better to be authentic? To just be who you are and to own it?
I highly recommend to all nonfiction writers that they use their real names. Allow yourself to take full credit for your idea and your work. Then bask in the attention you get, good and bad. (Remember, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.) Go out and speak. Seek media gigs. Be who you are. Pursue your passion and your purpose. Live an inspired life as an author, speaker, consultant, coach, healer…Inspire others.
And that brings up my second reason for NOT using a pen name: You will have no way to promote your book to the media or go out and speak. Why? Because you will not be able to show your face. This is a huge hindrance when it comes to being a blogger and an author. You want to be able to promote your book and your blog in every possibly manner.
Don’t hide behind a fake name like wearing a mask. Put your name on your book and be proud. Show your face to the world and own your ideas. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
And if you really think you will, maybe you need to rethink your book–or write a novel.
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