Jane Bidder / Sophie King / Janey Fraser whose new book The Playgroup is published by Random House.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR NAME
Many years ago, I was plain Jane Thomas. Until, that is, I was 22. I then got married (very young) and became Jane Bidder. It was on the strength of that name, that I became a journalist for the next twenty odd years. However, I then started writing novels and my agent suggested I took a pen name in order to distinguish my fiction from non-fiction. So I chose Sophie King as it had family connections. Several years on, I have a new publisher – who wanted a new name. I am now Janie Fraser! Close friends and family call me ‘Janey’ anyway and the publishers chose Fraser as it is a strong-sounding name, reflecting my half-Scottish roots. But I have another name too….I got married three years ago so on my bank book, I am Jane Corry – which I have used in my new historical novel THE PEARLS which is being published in Germany this year and was number eight in Italy last year.
Confusing? Well, yes it is a bit. But it’s better than not being published at all. The truth is that a new name can give you a new start. It can mean to an increased promotional spending budget by publishers. It can allow you to write in a different genre too. Readers expect more of the same from a name so will be surprised if a romance writer suddenly produces thrillers.From a psychological point of view, it can give you a spring in your writing. As Janey Fraser, I feel quite bright and light!
Legally, it’s wise to check that no one else has the same name that you pick for yourself. It’s also a good idea to find a name that has family connections. Somehow it gives you more of a credence. Make sure too, that your pen name is clear and memorable; not something that is prone to misinterpretation. And do set up a separate Facebook and Twitter and website for your new persona.
You don’t need to register your name or even tell a potential agent or publisher that it is your pen name. Wait instead, until you’ve got your deal. Then they might even suggest that you pick another pen name instead……