Nom De Plume


Or, if you will, pen name.

There’s a long history of writers publishing under pen names. The reasons vary. It could be to hide one’s real name from the Powers That Be. Writing can be a dangerous game. These days there are writers who use pen names to keep from getting fired from their jobs.

I’ve met writers who are well know for Science Fiction, but also write Mysteries under an assumed name. Often it’s the agents and/or publishers who insist on the pen name. They don’t want readers to get confused by someone accidentally picking up a book from the wrong category. Personally, I’m happy to read a good author no matter what type of writing they are doing. Except for Romances. A man has to have limits.

Some famous writers use pen names so their work will be judged on its own merits, not on the fame of the author. Stephen King is one writer who comes to mind.

In the glory days of the pulps writers used a lot of pen names. Some magazine issues had several short stories by the same author under different names. At pennies per word, writing was fast and furious in those days. If pen names got you published in a number of magazines at the same time, you stood a better chance of eating that month.

I myself have published under a variety of pen names. No, I’m not going to tell you what they are.

At one convention a clever guy figured out my name: Raymond M. Coulombe. Well, he thought, you write S/F so Raymond can be shortened to Ray, as in ray gun. He dropped the “e” off of Coulombe and thought of Coulomb’s Law. It’s from the early days of physics. The “M” was just to confuse people.

Actually, no. That’s my real name, the one my parents gave me. Clever guess though.

-Raymond M. Coulombe


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