"I shall write a book some day about the appropriateness of names. Geoffrey Chaucer has a ribald ring, as is proper and correct, and Alexander Pope was inevitably Alexander Pope. Colley Cibber was a silly little man without much elegance and Shelley was very Percy and very Bysshe."--James Joyce

Some writers, for various reasons, choose to use a pen name, sometimes referred to as a
nom de plume.  There are a variety of reasons for this, particularly if passion or throbbing are in the book's title, but if you can't figure out why someone would worry about this, then don't.  Various legal reasons may require some thought here, but you will know it if you have some kind of special need.

  • ADVICE. Historically, there are all kinds of anecdotes about name-changing.  Women, for example, in a climate where men get the publishing nod more often, have sometimes changed their names, or used only initials.  Initials don't require any special legal attention, but a full name change would have to be made clear to the publisher.  Who, for example, should the check be made out to?  Also, marginalized writers might believe that they either want or need to take on more mainstream sounding names.  Or someone notorious for one reason or another might want to pursue a writing career unfettered by this other life.  Or a Herbie Smith might want to become a Lance Major for all kinds of motivations.  And so on.