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There are many decisions facing you as an author: your writing style and choice of topics, your promotional endeavors, your publishing options… and your name. While your parents had something to say about what appears on your driver’s license, you have a chance to craft the name that appears on your book cover.

There are many reasons to consider a pseudonym. Perhaps you want the freedom anonymity can provide. Maybe your new adult romance novel conflicts with your notoriety as a children’s author. Or maybe your last name is just plain impossible to pronounce and you want to re-brand yourself. Authors have been using pen names since the dawn of the written word, and the folks at have put together this infographic of notable authors over the centuries who worked under a pseudonym, and their reasons for doing it.

Take a look, how many of these pen names are new to you? Who got left off the list? Are you motivated to come up with one of your own? You can always use your first pet’s name and the street you grew up on. No, wait, that’s a different name generator…

Click to enlarge
pen names
This infographic originally appeared on


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Andre Calilhanna

About Andre Calilhanna

Andre Calilhanna has written 27 posts in this blog.

Andre Calilhanna is the editor and manager of the BookBaby blog. He's a musician, songwriter, writer, marketer, massage therapist, husband, dad, and soon to be author.

5 thoughts on “A historical tour of pen names [Infographic]

  1. Stephanie says:

    Fantastic information here!

  2. Mary says:

    Why doesn’t Toni Morrison make the Leader Scoreboard?

  3. John Allan says:

    I don’t know about Daniel Foe vs Daniel Defoe, but Robinson Crusoe as his pen name?

    And while I might be prepared to consider the street where I grew up as a pen-surname, there is no way I would entertain Chum as a pen-first name.

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