Help with Author Name/Pen Name


I am sure this has been covered fully on the boards, but I spent some time looking and didn’t find my exact issue and was hoping I could get some help! I am interested in starting to publish my writing/develop a following and already have stories, blog post, and knowledge of marketing & social media in the wings to get me started. Unfortunately, the name I was going to use is already a published author!

I was going to use J. E. (Last Name) as my handle as I didn’t want a pen name, but that is exactly what this other author is using. I hadn’t even considered it an issue before this point, as I don’t have that common of a last name.

My issue is I write mostly adventure novels and wanted to use a gender-neutral option, but my name and middle name are both quite feminine. Julia & Elizabeth respectively. If I put any combination with my last name, it sounds like a romance author’s name. (Excuse me for being vague, but I don’t want my full name shared.) I also don’t have any options for a neutral nickname.

Any suggestions about how I should continue? I am worried if I pick a pen name and start working on a following, I will be making a mistake. But I don’t want to publish my work under an overtly feminine name either…


My pen name is P.C. Clenn. The first two letters are my real name’s initials, and “Clenn” is my last name with two different letters.

I had a hard time finding my pseudonym as well, but I guess it’s just a game of waiting. Think about it a lot, and like all things you will eventually find something that suits your perfectly. I came up with mine totally randomly after going cross about a billion different online sources.


Hmmm ok. @Scripturite I think I can help you out. I have a friend here who uses her first initial, her mom’s family’s name, her dad’s family’s name, and her own surname as their pen name. (she’s Indian, and her surname differs from her dad’s family name). It’s pretty gender neutral. Her’s is I believe NBCI. Something like that. My advice is do what you think will sound right. You can go by a nickname in your pen name. For example, for mine, I never use my real name. My pen name (SVTS) is partially true, as the first initial represents my first name. However, if people don’t call me that, I say call me Shree. It’s a nickname. Go for something like that as your pen name maybe. But you can find a pen name somewhere in there. Go around and use some family names maybe that sound unisex to you.

That’s my advice. Hope that it’s helpful!


I use Violet Whiteheart, where Violet was a nickname and Whiteheart was just a last name I made up. You can try either maybe combining name you like, or maybe have a correlation to things that you enjoy. For me I really like purple, and Violet was already a nickname so it made sense.

If you have any nicknames that could be used?


You could always make up a surname that you believe would fit your brand.


I dont have much to add expect Jules is a gender neutral name that can be used as a nickname for Julia .Although its your choice what you want to use you may not like Jules your pen name is up to you


Thank you everyone for the suggestions! I have some ideas for pen names, but considering I have a lot of plans into building a brand around it, (I work in digital marketing & branding, so I know all the steps), I am worried about putting work into something that won’t be my name.

On the safe side, I can reserve my own name for any traditional publishing deals, but if the pen name works well, I might get stuck with something I end up not liking!

I had done that partly with my current username “Scripturite” which I sort of made up, but in the end, I end up not liking it because I think it sounds too much like Scripture, as in biblical scripture.

I have a very hard time sticking with things…

@annathepanda23; That is actually a very good suggestion! I have had people call me Jules too! My only hesitation is I always think of Jules Vern… :thinking:

I just checked that one and it is not an author! So that will go on the list.

I also had considered Julie & Juliette, but neither were any less feminine…


Jules Verne is a french author ((Had to google it to see who he was)) however as long as you dont use something similar to Vern you should be fine you just dont want it to be exact or it might be confusing.Theres also another writer named Jules Romains both show up when I google writers named Jules ((again Im using google correct me if Im wrong)) .I wouldnt worry too much about having the same first name as someone else that is also a writer as long as its not the same exact thing or the two names sound similar


All good ideas, thank you! I am actually married and I considered using my maiden name. However, now my parents are going through a messy divorce and using either of there names would lead to lots of hurt feelings and awkward conversions down the road. :sweat:


Yeah you are right. It just pops into my head when I think of the name Jules. I can’t completely avoid using some authors first name!

it does lean slightly masculine though, so it is something I’d have to weight for some of the ideas I have…

Thank you for your help!


Unfortunately, anything my name shortens to naturally doesn’t really work. Julie, Liz, Eliza, Beth, all too girly.

As panda mentioned, Jules is an option, but more masculine leaning. I also considered Jay as I used that as a nickname on the internet for pretty much ever, but very much dislike how it sounds with my last name.

I have a few pen names picked out that I like the flow and sound of, but am just not sure about choosing something and then regretting it later…


Could you alter your last name slightly?

It is WP, so you can probably change it if you find you dont like it after a few months.


Unfortunately not really. My last name is a verb, but spelled differently. So the only other alternative that makes sense is the alternative spelling, which then makes a more than not comical verb. Any other spelling wouldn’t make sense as it would be too close to the original to matter.

Even so, if I use something close to my name, I’d rather just use my own name. I am more just wondering if people think a pen name or a feminine name would hurt me more in the long run. Ideally I don’t want to have to use one, but I will if a feminine name could hurt a potential future audience by making them think I am a romance author…

As for changing it on WP. I am not concerned about WP directly, I am actually making a website. WP is just the only place I thought of to come for advice.


Awww I’m so sorry. use both names! It’s a win win!


I don’t think a feminine name would hurt too much. As these days it doesn’t seem to be as big of a problem as it used to be.


I totally understand your issue of sounding too feminine. If I ever need to, my name can be shortened into C. Mal

At the end of the day, it’s all branding. Heavily feminine names can potentially detract from super action packed stories. Just like the name Gunther Vorhees wouldn’t be the best romance writer name.

I recommend trying out something neutral, or making the last name something neutral but also memorable. Your name is your branding, so it’s natural to want to think about pen names


Maybe like you said, I should try some stuff out here on Wordpress and see how I like it after a few months before I really stick with it…

@SVTSwrites: Yeah that still wouldn’t make anyone happy. =/ Thanks for your help! I will consider the full initial route!


I think you’ll find something :slight_smile:
It took me a year or two to settle on Violet.


Aw ok. It’s no problem! Good luck!


Charlotte Mallory sounds like a mystery author maybe… :thinking: You could also shorten to Charlie quite easily.

My stories are mostly adventure, fantasy & sci-fi, so I want to avoid romance connotations. I also don’t want to start going down the road of feeling like I would need a different name to match each different genre, as I am hoping to brand everything under one name ultimately. Gaah, so hard to figure out…