I’ve been asked so many times why I chose to use a pen name. Each writer has their own reasons behind it.
Some authors have different names to separate their different kinds of writing. This prevents readers who are interested in their romance novels from having to listen to details about their crime novels or non-fiction books. For more established authors like Stephen King and J.K.Rowling, it also gives their books more of a chance to stand on their own without the author brand they’ve created to prop them up. People become loyal to the characters and story again, rather than just the author.
I totally get why some authors do this, and it’s something I’ve considered numerous times. Right now, it isn’t the right fit for me as I’m still trying to build up myself as Kristina Adams and don’t have the time to split that focus and channel the same energy into another pseudonym too. When I had two Facebook accounts, I struggled to fill both of them whilst also having time to write, spend time with my family and friends, and work full-time. It just wasn’t viable for me. As soon as I merged those pages and posted more, my page reach increased.
But why did I choose to use a pen name in the first place? So many people have told me that Kristina Proffitt is an interesting name, that it’s unique, that there’s nothing wrong with it, etc. And yet I chose to ignore them and picked one anyway because…
I just don’t like my name
When I was younger, I HATED my name. Now, I like Kristina, but Proffitt? It’s one of those names that people think is HILARIOUS as the butt of jokes.
I’ve heard them all.
Not only that, but the spelling confuses people. Having a first name nobody can spell (although it does seem to be more common now than two decades ago, when I got called everything from Christina to Children. Seriously) paired with a surname nobody can spell is a disaster when trying to build up an author brand. Which leads nicely on to my next point…
If someone wants to search for your books but can’t spell your name, how will they find you?
How will search engines know articles about Christine Profit are still about me when they’re spelt entirely differently?
They’re good, but they’re not that good.
Having a memorable name is important, as is having one that’s easy to spell. There’s a reason a lot of celebrities change their names as their career starts to take off.
It’s my nan’s maiden name
When I first told my nan I was using her maiden name as my author surname, she told me not to. She doesn’t deserve the credit I give her, apparently. (She does.) She’s gotten used to it now, but she did try and talk me out of it when I told her, back when we were finalising Restless Minds. I ignored her. Kristina Adams has a nice ring to it.
The Sasha Fierce effect
Much like how Beyoncé had her alter ego Sasha Fierce onstage, I have Kristina Adams when talking about/performing my writing. As Kristina Adams, I’m much more comfortable in who I am and what I do, more confident, and more open. It gives me a shield, if you will; a way of putting on an act when I’m in front of a crowd and just don’t feel like it. I am NOT a confident person, but having a way of separating my self doubt from my writing in this way has really helped.
Not only that, but it helps to keep my full-time job as a public sector worker separate from my writing career, which I like.