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When you are ready to sign a contract, make sure your editor and agent know your real name and its correct spelling; your contract should include a space for both names as well.

Also be sure that your bank and local post office are aware of all your personas, or you may have trouble cashing checks.

Some examples of writers who use pen names: Ben Franklin used this practice extensively, and when he used a pen name, he often created an entire character to go along with it.

Dean Koontz and Stephen King, both prolific writers, used pen names at the suggestion of their publishers to avoid overexposure.

There are several good reasons to use pseudonyms, and there are also some reasons not to.

Writing under a fictitious name was a very common practice in the eighteenth century, when writers and journalists used pseudonyms to pen controversial or even illegal articles and letters to the editor.

If you’re a new writer, making the decision to use a pen name is probably not top priority for you, unless you fall under one of the categories below.

Your job is to focus on your work, not your name; and you want to get exposure, not hide your true identity.

A pen name would also protect the author from political persecution or prejudice. Then you’ll love the many other ways Writer’s Relief can help!

Many writers use pen names—but there’s a right way and a wrong way to publish your book, stories, poems, or essays under a pseudonym.

Actors and artists often use fictitious names, and writers sometimes choose to create under a different persona as well.

Read Creative Nonfiction: How To Stay Out Of Trouble.

Writer’s Relief has been working with authors who have pen names since 1994.