Subscribe to Love Mondays newsletter updates via email »

LM: #257: Alter ego

April 01 2024 – 10:00am

In the early days of the internet, some guy serially published chapters of a story on his website.

Over the years, he published his full novel, got a book deal, and John Dies at the End was made into a movie, starring Paul Giamatti.

He didn’t want his co-workers to know. So all along, he called himself David Wong.

Keeping your creative and professional lives separate is just one use of a pseudonym.

Pseudonyms are also useful to:

If you’re having trouble shipping, ask yourself if a pseudonym would help.

Few wannabe creators consider this. Which is ironic, because pseudonyms, pen names, stage names, alter-egos, etc. are common and even the norm in many art forms.

Pseudonyms are so common, it feels futile to even list examples, but:

I’ve had and still have pseudonyms. I’ve used them to create separate personal brands, cut my teeth in art forms in which I have little confidence, and give myself the creative freedom to embody a different persona.

If I could start over, you’d probably be reading an email from someone other than David Kadavy. I think it’s no coincidence many successful writers in my genre have names much easier to remember, spell, and pronounce: James Clear, Mark Manson, Ryan Holiday, and Joanna Penn are all real names, AFAIK. But damn those are good names.

Nobody says you have to use your pen name forever. David Wong announced in 2020 that he would re-publish everything under his real name, Jason Pargin.

Pick a pseudonym. Use a fake name generator if you have to. Then, start shipping.

Book: The Shadow Drawing (Amazon) explains why Leonardo da Vinci was not a “dual genius.”

Cool: Dextro Energy (Amazon) is convenient dextrose candies that work great for fueling workouts on a targeted keto diet.

P.S. One of my pseudonyms made 150k.

Thinking of
writing a book?

How to Write a Book cover
Download your FREE copy of How to Write a Book »

(for a limited time)

This post is filed under Newsletter.