Editors Blog

Should You Use a Pseudonym, Cool Fake Name Generator & Free WD Subscription

There comes a time in every writers life where, if even for a split second, he thinks to himself, “Should I consider using a pseudonym like Max Powers or J.P. Awesome or Stephen Kingg (with two Gs)?” Most writers will ultimately stick with their given name, but others will take the leap. Should you take the leap?

I’ve been compiling a list of names for myself over the years. I decided to do it because 1) I wanted to be prepared in case I ever needed one and 2) I was bored and looking to have some fun. My names were pulled from different things that have some sort of significance in my life, such as:

  • The name of a character from one of my favorite books
  • My name spelled backwards
  • The last names of my two favorite Cincinnati Reds from the 1990
  • World Championship team
  • My superhero name based on a tangible skill that I have
  • The name of a character from “Scrubs,”
  • The name of my cabbage patch kid
  • The name of my desk garden gnome

Here’s my list (see if you can match which is which to the list above):

If you picked a pseudonym, would it be based on something in your life or completely random? If you like completely random, you’ll love this Fake Name Generator site. From pseudonyms to vampire names to evil names and more, this site is a lot of fun and will keep you entertained when you need a break.

Also, here are a couple of important articles on why authors use pseudonyms, some legal issues around them and a list of famous pseudonyms:

Captain Hugs-A-Lot

P.S.-Create a pseudonym based on something in your life (can be meaningful, funny, etc.), explain it and post it in the comments section. I’ll select one commenter at random for a free subscription. Deadline: Thursday, September 15 at Noon EST.


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57 thoughts on “Should You Use a Pseudonym, Cool Fake Name Generator & Free WD Subscription

  1. Tim

    Is someone really chosen at random or should we include as much butt-kissing as possible? Sorry I missed the deadline, but my pseudonym is, The Writer Formerly Known as Tim

  2. secular_christian

    Pinche Durazo. When I was around two or three I was at Sunday mass with my family and a cousin of the same age named Myra. During a point where the congregation was at it’s quietest my cousin had ran to the alter and turned to shout for me. But she didn’t use my real name, instead used the name she thought was my name: Pinche. My dad used to call me that so much that she thought it was my real name. It’s basically Spanish for ‘little bastard’ (not literal translation, just in meaning). Durazo is the last name my father was born into and is infamously known for one of Mexico’s most notorious bandits (and a great uncle of mine) El Negro Durazo, who among other things, kept supplies of weapons going to Pancho Villa.

  3. Chelsea Daytona

    Well I’ve always thought that my real name sounds like a pseudonym: Chelsea Daytona Chevalier. My dad has a thing for NASCAR. However, if I had to choose another name for myself it would most likely be Jocelyn Thames, because Jocelyn is a name I frequently use at Starbucks for fun when I don’t feel like being myself (along with a British accent) and Thames is the last name of my favorite character from one of my stories.

  4. VictoriaBell

    What a perfectly timed article! I was just considering using a pen name when I publish my novel. My pen name is Victoria Bell. I chose it for several different reasons: 1) Victoria Bell are my two middle names and I really like them, so wanted to use them for something; 2) I don’t want to confuse my readers with a change of last names when I get married; and 3) I wanted to keep my privacy. Plus, pen names are just splendid and add a little mystery and excitement to writing.

  5. Destination

    I’ve sometimes used the name Gerry Attrick. It’s appropriate since I live in a town with a large population of retirees.

    So far, I haven’t used Gerry Attrick for my writing. Instead, if I have to give a name in order to find information I need, I’ll sometimes use that name.

  6. Lionyx

    I use a pseudonym named Patrick M. Stefan. I picked the name from a character in a novel I wrote, but later decided not to pursue publishing the novel. I used part of the name in another novel I am publishing.

    Recently, I discovered I am a victim of ID Theft. While I investigated my own ID Theft, I called one bank branch in Texas. The representative informed me about a man was using my SS# in my own state at the same bank. Here, I had discovered a woman used my SS# and now a man. I freaked out hearing I now had two people unlawfully using my SS#. While speaking with the bank representative in my state, she asked me if I ever had any businesses opened with my SS#. I thought for a minute and then remembered the two business names I used to open accounts. One of them was Patrick M. Stefan. I laughed about my blooper for rest of the day.

  7. bauernfeind

    “TONE” would be my pseudonym. A few coworkers years ago gave it to me for either of two reasons … one they acknowledge and the other I suspect. Tone, a derivative of Baritone, my voice is rather low and piercing (great for my high school teaching years) was the reason they stated; but I also suspect that as young boys will do, I was rather adept at loud farting events. Either of these two reasons served my nickname well when I was young and would work I think as an excellent pseudonym. Succinct, a curiosity, thought provoking — perfect!

  8. vigrant

    My family has an artifact handed down the generations, carved by a maternal ancestor, and now installed in the Smithsonian. At the top of the Afro-centric designed cane, he carved, “This cane was made by S Grover in 1801.” I’ve decided to honor our heritage by authoring my series of eBooks in his name.

  9. Rachel

    Rae Luci Miller would be my pseudonym. My parents nickname for me is Rae and Luci was my little Lhasa Apso that I had to give away in a divorce. sad. Miller is the last name of my Sweet Significant that is always fabulous to me and very supportive. I figured even though I am not going to marry again, I would rather have his name become famous than my ex’s. (rubbing hands together) Mu HA HA ha ha ha…..

  10. laurenruiz05

    This post actually helped me figure out the name I’m going to use if I ever manage to get published (I will).

    For now, I was displaying my middle initial between my first and last name, to be distinguishable from people of the same name (I once saw a book by a writer with my name). However, my name doesn’t sound pleasant when read aloud with my middle initial, SO thanks to this post, I thought about my writer name, and decided, hey, I should just SPELL out my middle name. Lol. A simple solution.

  11. mara.aio

    My pen name could be Mara Rusel. Rusel is a no-mother language name anywhere.
    The reasons I figured that name is:
    1. choosing the name of a great movie director, like Antonioni, Fellini, Bergman, Ken Russel. My goal is to honor their work. Rusel is at least half USA/UK language, versus my country language.
    2.another goal is privacy. Like featuring a shadow-writer. Not to be recognized in a real flesh person.

  12. Naomi

    I hadn’t thought about a pseudonym. I tried the Fake Name Generator. My favorites:

    Misty Eddie Delacruz
    Jamal Fernando Kim
    Otto Roy
    Regina Ron Watson

    Maybe M. J. Otto Watson, a little something from all four names.

  13. smf

    Soapy M. Foamiest.

    That was the best name in my spam folder. I heartily recommend you start your epic eponymic journey in your spam folder.

    Of course, you forgot to add that you need a name that looks good in ALLCAPS on a paperback cover at an airport.

  14. pcromar

    After doing some family research I found the last name of Good on my mother’s side of the family and the last name of Goodenough on my father’s.
    So sticking with my roots and since my first name is Penni, I think I would use … Penni Goodenough. What do you think?

  15. sbending

    For six years I had a part time business hand painting clothing. My designs were handled by three designer stores and I sold at craft fairs and farmer’s markets. It was fun to see people wearing my wearable art around town. I had named the business Sirius Illusions. The first word is the name for the beautiful dog constellation in the northern sky. It also hinted at an interesting twist on the word “serious.” The second word has connotations of dreams, mirages, abstracts. It also hints at the magic trick of painting a 3 dimensional image on a 2 dimensional cloth. Together, they remind me that the imagined image of a dog from a cluster of specks in the night sky (which are really vastly distant massive stars) is a serious illusion. As a poet, I would use the pen name Sirius Illusions for the resonance in its sounds. the beauty of its image, and its myriad connotations,

  16. Ailora

    The fake name generator came up with a few good ones: Milly Dickson, Erin Ross, Alix Stevenson..
    Not bad!

    I’ve always thought I might use Ellen Rae as a pseudonym. Ellen is my middle name and Rae is the name my Mom actually wanted to name me. I was named Goldie after a great aunt on my father’s side instead!

  17. alex_garrison

    People in correspondence frequently assume from my name that I’m a man. If I had a pen name, though, I think I’d be boring and go with it — Garrison Andrews, after my last name, which I’m often called anyway, and a favorite cousin. But perhaps Garrison Keillor’s spoiled that for all of us. When I’ve inserted myself as a character in fiction I’ve written (heaven help me), I’ve used ‘Erin’, I guess because it’s also vaguely androgynous and monosyllabic.

  18. AmyJ

    Sidney Grisham…It’s the first name of my favorite character (Sidney Carton of A Tale of Two Cities) and the last name of my favorite authore (John Grisham). A plus is that most bookstores list alphabetically so my books would be placed right next to John Grisham’s books (well, as long as I write in his genre).

  19. Rimeriter


    I’m a writer of rhyme havin’ a good time.

    So I have been using – Rimeriter – for best part of some time.

    Remember – a backward writer writes – – – – – inverse.

  20. LRaine

    May may not be as creative since it really is an inherited name. One of my nieces started calling me ‘auntie Raine’ since she could talk. We both share the middle name Lorraine, but of course early on she couldn’t pronounce it. Anywhoo, the moniker caught on and spread among the rest of the family. Plus, my married name, French, is SO, much cooler than my maiden name, which closely resembled the name of a popular tire brand. So the pseudonym I use is a variation of my middle name & own married name since they go together so well. L’Raine French. However, If I ever write a romance novel I will probably go with the much cheesier L’Raine Francoise! Because cheesy is easy & fun! lol (Sorry I can’t resist sometimes…) Will bad lines put me permanently out of the running for the subscription??

  21. John Koppes

    I remeber reading about Harold Ramis and how he came up with the name for his character in Ghostbusters. He used the first name of a kid (Egon Donsbach) he went to school with in High School and the last name of a scientist (Oswald Spengler) and came up with Egon Spengler. I used what was left over and have been using Oswald Donsbach.

  22. nimia_isf

    I love playing with words so since my nickname is Nim, I was thinking of Sue D. Nim as my pseudonym.

    I also have multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow), so how about May E. Loma?

  23. McKannick

    Mine is Silas Longshot, my alias as a Cowboy Action Shooter. Made up of my father’s first name and my ‘specialty’ during the friendly competition events every month.

  24. KB1976

    My pseudonym is Katherine Butler. Katherine was my beloved step-great-grandmother’s name. When I needed a last name, I looked at my shelf of absolute favorite books and my eyes fell on “Gone With the Wind”, so Butler it was. (I’m a little bit in love with Rhett!)

  25. Judith Victoria Douglas

    The name you see posted is my pseudonym. It is a combination of mine and my children’s names. It seemed right since they will ultimately “own” anything I’ve done.
    If you want to be funny about it I could use the names of my last two and current dog–Cassidy Belle Cole. It could work. I could go by “Cookie” my late cat’s name, but it might become something like Mama Cass, which is taken.
    Only a few of my horses had “people” names, so any combination of Jody, Billy, Abrams, and Vee (a nickname) might work—Billy Jo Abrams?
    I give my vehicles names too, but I’ve mostly had trucks for several years. The current one is my Silver Pony…not a name.
    I wanted a pseudonym because 1) there are about a thousand people in the US with my name…look yours up on a Find a Person site. You might be surprised.
    2) Privacy, Privacy, Privacy. I even used it for a newspaper article I recently contributed to.
    3) No one who knows me seems to believe I’m capable of doing anything that could make me famous, so if it did, I don’t want them to know. I like having a secret that I can chuckle to myself about. Iit would be so cool if someone I knew asked if I’d read the latest book by…me. Hehehe.

  26. alpinegirl

    Fannie Diesel. You can’t get a weirder fake name generator than a bunch of cousins and siblings coming up with the least flattering nicknames for each other.

  27. Sassafras

    My day job is with the government. It’s not so bad now because I don’t have a lot of contact with the public in my current position, but my name used to be on a lot of people’s voice mails and at the bottom of a lot of letters. At that time, I thought I should use a pen name.
    I’ve published poetry and short stories under my own name though, and I think that by the time I get a novel out there it really won’t be necessary to use another name.
    My name is Melanie Marttila. It’s Finnish, and in fact there’s a city called Marttila. I’ve done a little bit of geneological research and in the process discovered that Marttila is just Finnish for St. Martin. St Martin of Tours is on the city’s crest, hacking his cloak in half for a poor beggar.
    And I’m a Celtophile. In a big way. My first name is actually Greek for dark lady, so again, being the research bug I am, I figured out what that might be in Irish: Ciarnet.
    So that’s the pseudonym: Ciarnet Martin. It’s me, but it’s also cool enough not to be :)

  28. CHawk

    I use Claire (my grandmother’s name and my middle name) Hawk (the name of a company my father started based on the initials of our real names). I write under this name because there is an illustrator who works on a popular series with my real name. I don’t want to be misidentified or associated with the genre of that series. Plus, a 15 character name looks funny on a book cover.

  29. Emma_Grayce

    Emma Grayce is a version of my real name — far enough away from the real thing that the people who don’t matter won’t make the connection, close enough to the real thing that the people who DO matter will recognize me and call me and tell me they’ve read my less-than-stellar writing.

    When I’m writing my adult-themed pieces, I write under the pseudonym Isaiah Moretti. Because who DOESN’T want to pretend they’re a gorgeous Italian man when they’re writing smut?

  30. nancysmith830

    All in my little head (no generator), I came up with Darcy James, after two of my favorite (male) characters. But since I don’t write romance, not sure that would work.

    Might have to resort to the generator after all…

  31. pabrown

    I decided to use a pseudonym when I began writing mainstream historical fiction. I wanted to separate the two types of novels I write. I chose GK Parker. The Parker comes from the most influential police chief in the LAPD. It was also the name of the LAPD headquarters until a year or so ago.

    The GK came after looking at a variety of double letters. I wanted one that was strong.

  32. JoshBatman

    My actual first and middle initials are J and K, but a certain world-famous writer has already beaten me to the claim… so I figure I have to use every tool at my disposal to take my initials back! I’ve quite the fantastic pseudonym: J.K. Batman.

    People would see the title of my book and waffle a bit…then they’d see the author “J.K.” and think “GASP (they would actually say the word “gasp”), NEW HARRY POTTER BOOK.” Then they’d continue to read the name, see “Batman” in bold, stenciled lettering, and say, “Harry Potter AND Batman? Together?” Reflex alone would cause the reader’s arm to shoot forward and grasp the book in hand, then propel the legs at breakneck speed towards the checkout counter. With the combination of name recognition and sheer force of awesome, the book could be called “Grass: A History of the Etymology of Our Lawn’s Best Friend, Volume 1″ and it would still fly off the shelves en masse.

    Then I could use my proceeds to pay off all the copyright infringement and libel lawsuits.

  33. Andres Marin

    As you can see, my name is Andres Marin. Both in Latin America and Spain is a very common name (and there is Flamenco dancer with this name).

    So, I picked Tom Dimare (or Tomás Dimare in spanish).

    Tom for Tom Bombadil, a J. R. R. Tolkien’s character. He claims to remember “the first raindrop and the first acorn”; image how many histories he could tell…

    Dimare comes from my last name Marin and means of the sea in italian. My first idea was Tom Mare but it sound like “I willl drink” in spanish, and a mare is is an adult female horse in englis :-)

    What doy you think? I would love to read some comments.

  34. Pama

    I have used pseudonyms through my entire career which began in 1970. My family teases me that the only place I care to see my name is on the check. While that is actually true, the real reason is to protect my family from my not always popular opinions and to differentiate one type of writing from another.

    But, the pseudonym I plan to attach to a series of mysteries I’m penning is the name my dear mother was going to give me but, thanks to my father, I was saved from bearing for life: Verla Jean Cobb. Let’s just call it a tribute to both my mother and the hard-boiled buxom broads with acid tongues from all of those noir novels I grew up reading.

  35. pacanime

    Well I write but decided to use the first letter of my first and middle name along with my last name. I chose that direction mainly becauase I wanted my writing life to be seperate from my personal life. That way when people contact me I know where they know me from. Not really a pseudo name, but still seperate from my birth name.

  36. Ivye

    I have a passion for names, so as a girl I spent inordinate quantities of time making up names for myself. Now I’ve picked up the pastime again, since starting to write in English: if I ever were to publish anything more than a handful of short stories, it would be hard to do it under my own name. I am burdened with a surname that is unwieldy even for Italians, and a medieval first name that no self-respecting Anglophone can seem to pronounce right. So, back to pseudonyms. At times I get carried away, and make up names suitable for different genres… And then there is the one I seriously mean to use: it’s still work in progress, but right now I rather like Clara Giuliani, a combination of my first name’s Latin version and my grandmother’s maiden name. Easier on the tongue, and it still sounds suitably Italian.

  37. adspires13

    So I created one call Aspen T. Namkia, which is the first name that I was always going to name my daughter, whom I have not yet had, and the T Namkia is for Troy Aikman (Namkia=Aikman backwards) because he was my all time favorite quarterback for my favorite football team the Dallas Cowboys, and I still were his jersey when I watch games. So I combined two of my passions to come up with it. Plus, I feel like the last name gives it a little more of an exotic feel than I actually have in my real name.

  38. ldraconus

    My pseudonym is Christof Martin. My real name is Christopher. For some reason it is exactly one character longer than most older computer systems would accept, and I went through school with the name Christophe.


    So, I shortened it and cleaned up the spelling. For the last name, Martin, well that is my middle name. I kinda like it.

    My other pseudonym is my username (ldraconus). Pronounced ‘El-drac-oh-nus’. Not a very good one, but I was young when I picked it …

  39. hawksquest

    If I chose a pseudonym it would be after my Shih Tzu…possibly Lordiss Chancellor (his name is Lord Chancellor of Exchequer). It sounds high and mighty but that pup is the furthest thing from it.

  40. The_Will

    I’ve been contemplating Joy Waterfield as a pseudonym. Waterfield was my great, great grandmother’s last name and Joy is one of my middle names. My mom always liked Waterfield and has contemplated using it as a pseudonym as well.

  41. timeradrake

    My pseudonym is Reiter Gray. Reiter is my paternal grandmother’s maiden name, and Gray is a family name used as a middle name for the men on my father’s side of the family.

  42. irinagonzalez

    I created a pseudonym named Tatiana de la Barrera. Not really funny, but meaningful: It accurately reflects my background (half Russian, half Cuban), is my great grandmother’s first name and my great grandfather’s 2nd half of his (and my real) last name. It fits a little better than the “Faye Reeves” I got with Fake Name Generator, though that IS a hysterical site.