Your Name, Your Choice

I don’t have much of a ROW80 update. I seem to be struggling through all of my remaining chapters and have no idea when I will be finished my second draft. I’m not sure why they are harder than the preceding ones were. Perhaps I did my worst writing at the end when I was rushing to meet the NaNoWriMo word count.

There is something on my mind though.

I thought what I put on my book cover was up to me.

There’s a movement afoot to have women authors publish under their full names. While I agree with the sentiment that women shouldn’t be afraid to publish under their full, real names if they want to, I also believe we should have a choice free from judgment and disrespect.

Women fought long and hard for the ability to be taken seriously in the boardroom and today women can become CEOs. This is fantastic! What isn’t fantastic is that women who choose to become housewives and mothers today are often made to feel like they are lesser.
All of these movements mean nothing if women are made to feel like they have to choose to be a CEO when they really want to be a homemaker. It’s for nothing if I’m not freely allowed to put my initials or a pseudonym on my covers rather than my full, real name.
Women should be supporting each other regardless of what choice they make. 
I am choosing to publish using my initials. This isn’t because I want to dupe people into thinking I’m of a different gender. There’s actually more males on this list than females.  This has nothing to do with feeling like I need to pretend to be anyone other than who I am.
It’s not about blindly following authors I admire either. Some of my idols include Anne Rice and J.K. Rowling. One uses her full name and has a net worth of $50 Million. The other uses pseudonyms and initials and has a net worth of $1 Billion, but this fluctuates constantly as she gives so much of it away to charity. To get an idea of the net worth scale, Dan Brown’s net worth is $140 Million, Stephanie Myer’s net worth is $125 Million, and E.L. James’ net worth is $80 Million. E.L. James is not someone I admire. I just threw hers in out of curiosity.
There are many reasons authors don’t use their real name and choose to stay anonymous. Lawsuits are one reason. Personal safety is another. Writing content one’s family may be upset about (erotica, horror) is yet another reason.
I like the look of initials. They take up less room on the cover, giving a minimalist feel. This also means they can appear in a larger font than my full name could. Hey, marketing is a thing all writers who publish need to care about.
It’s easier to remember R.G. Roy than it is to remember Raeanne G. Roy. Most people can’t say or spell my name and while this used to anger me as a child, I’ve learned to accept that many people just can’t handle the amount of vowels that are lumped together in my name.
Maybe this seems selfish, that I’m choosing to stick with initials instead of following this movement. This probably even seems like I disagree with the movement. Wrong on both accounts.
I agree with some others that it is the culture mindset that needs to change, which is so far beyond the name on one’s book covers.
And I don’t think of myself as a female author. My gender isn’t what’s important, what I write is. I feel that if my writing is of good quality, people will read it regardless of what bits are in between my legs.

8 thoughts on “Your Name, Your Choice

  1. I love this post! May I reblog you, please?

    Like you, I’m a writer. I also happen to be female, and to have chosen to leave the workforce to put my energies into homeschooling and raising our children – because, for me, that’s more important than a paycheck.

    I think ‘for me’ are very important words that often get forgotten. I choose FOR ME. It might be all wrong for someone else.

    I don’t presume to know more than you or anyone else about what choices are right for you or them.

    And, in the interest of full disclosure – the full name I use when writing is the one I use in life, but also not the one that appears on my birth or even my marriage certificates…

    I say, use the name YOU want to use – it’s your book, after all.


    • I only have my maiden name unless I wanted to publish under one of my Scottish clan names… Initials also give me a certain level of privacy and perhaps an air of mystery.


  2. I chose a pen name at thirteen because i thought that was just what writers were supposed to do, coupled with the fact that my real name, Anna, is as boring and common as dirt. It’s the most common female name in history after only Mary, across numerous cultures and languages, and even Mary seems more interesting these days, after decades of lessened popularity. My surname is Slovakian, and frequently gets mangled into McCormack, MacCormick, Womack, Mermack, Wormack, etc. I’m proud of my Slovakian ancestry, and as a Lucy Stoner will have the same surname throughout my entire life, marriage or not, but it’s just not the type of name which sounds glamorous and sells books. My first pen name comes from two Sixties songs (with the -ian added onto the surname after I became an Armenophile at 15), and my newer pen name, for my serious, intense historicals, is my middle name plus my five-greats-grandma’s birth surname. Not only did she have an awesome name, but it’s also German for “brave/strong/hardy little one” or “the little brave/strong/hardy one.”


    • Your pen names sound meaningful and Iv think that’s fantastic. Common names are easy to pronounce and that has the benefit of being easy to talk about, but unique names stand out and may be easier to remember and give a more lasting impact. The game of marketing is part of writing. I don’t know a published writer that doesn’t care about selling books. It comes second to the love of writing, but it’s still important. Why not do all we can to get our messages into the hands of as many people as possible? After all, most stories have a point to make.


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