Choose. Then Use.

To choose, copyright, and use a pen name:

  1. Make sure you haven’t chosen another well-known person’s pen name. (I just read this week that even though it is ok to choose a pen name of a different gender, it is NOT acceptable to use one of a different ethnicity than your own.)
  1. Purchase URLs and social media handles for your pen name.
  1. Legally set up a business using your pen name. Most writers choose LLCs or sole proprietorships. Open new bank accounts in your pen name. 
  1. Apply for a Fictitious Business Name Statement (FBN Statement) if you plan to receive payments under your pen name. (Amazon will make payments to the account owner name of your KDP account, so if you’re only selling on Amazon, you may choose to skip this step).
  1. Inform your agent and publisher of your real name for contracts and tax purposes.
  1. Use your pen name on your book cover and copyright notice (like this: © 2021 [your pen name]).
  1. Register the copyright for your work under your real name and your pen name.

Next week: the conclusion of Using Pen Names.