The Word: The Downside to using a penname
Even in my younger years the appeal of a pen name entrapped me. Something better than my name. I ran through several ideas, but years later when became something to put into use I didn’t know what to use. By now at least, you should have realized my penname is L. Bachman. Many people use pennames, it’s nothing new, but the reasons behind using one are vast. Some do it to sort genres they’re writing. With others use one for privacy reasons. For me it was privacy, but almost two years after I began, I discovered I had fooled myself.
I was published in an anthology called Painted Mayhem, to help raise money for post-traumatic stress syndrome survivors and their families. It was in one of the reviews I discovered my name, not penname being used. It wasn’t an upsetting thing for my name to be used, but I realized it was a downsize, would be for someone really wanting to hide behind a name. I’ve gone on to fully accept the use of my penname, a variant of it mixed with my real name, or even just flat out my real name (Lynn Bachman, Lynn Lesher, or L. Lesher).
This is where I share the lesson I learned in order for you to learn from it. It should be obvious by now that nothing online stays private. If you’re using a pen name, make sure you’re comfortable, on some level that eventually your truth comes out. Like mine, it came in the form of a review. I don’t know the reviewer; I do not know who they are, but they knew my name none the less.
I could see this being a problem for many writers in the independent field. I’ve met many that write or were writing in a genre they felt family or friends would be ashamed of. I never figured it to be a big problem for me. I didn’t try very hard to keep my name private; I use a page for business and the L. Bachman name became a business name.
Just be aware someone knows what you’re doing most likely.