Throughout the centuries, there have been renowned authors who use a pen name to protect their personal identity and stay anonymous. One of the most popular authors, who used a pen name, is the legendary Mark Twain. But why did he need to use a pen name to become famous?
Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who chose his pen name in 1863. He took his pen name from his days working on a steamboat on the Mississippi River. It was a rivercustom for the leadsman to call out, “Mark twain — two fathoms”. This meant that the water was deep enough for the boat to sail and Twaneneedled it to represent his career as a journalist.
Some experts claim that using a pen name was the best decision he could have taken, as it allowed him to write whatever he wanted, without being judged by society. Twain wanted to remain free from the prejudices of both society and his family and friends, He was able to do this, by writing under an assumed name.
Twain was an incredibly prolific writer, who wrote not only novels, but various stories, poems and articles, on many diverse topics, such as travel, culture, history, politics, and even satire. By using a pen name, he was able to explore all these topics without any restraints.
Using a pen name also enabled Twain to have much more control over the works he wrote and their publication. He was not limited by his financial or social status, but rather was able to create his own unique identity as a writer.
Furthermore, some writers may use a pen name to continue to be anonymous and because it can be easily recognized. Twain had this benefit, as his pen name was already renowned when he joined the publishing industry, making it an ideal choice for him.
The Negative Impact of Using a Pen Name
Although Twain was able to use the anonymity of a pen name to write freely, there were some disadvantages too. He often had to work on a diversified range of projects and he was not able to establish a reputation as an author. Moreover, the choice of a pen name also didn’t guarantee that his works would find a publisher that was willing to accept them.
Additionally, while using a pen name helped Twain to be seen in public without being recognized, it made it difficult for readers to search for his books in libraries and bookstores. This made it difficult for readers to find Twain’s books, and limited his ability to build a large audience.
Twain’s most famous works were published after he had died, making it even harder to establish a connection with his readers. It is no wonder, then, that Twain opted to use a pen name throughout his writing career.
Twain’s decision to use a pen name was a wise one and it allowed him to write whatever he wanted without any judgments. His pen name allowed him to write about topics that would be considered controversial for the time, making it easier for him to be accepted by a wider audience.
Using a pen name also gave Twain much more control over his literary career and allowed him to build an identity separate from his personal life. Furthermore, his decision to use a pen name may have caused him some difficulties, but ultimately, itwas invaluable in helping him create his work and establish himself as a renowned author.
Alternatives to Pen Names
One of the alternatives to using a pen name is to use a pseudonym. This is when someone chooses to use a different name, without the intention of hiding their true identity. Pseudonyms are still widely used, as they allow authors to distinguish themselves from other authors with similar names.
Another alternative to using a pen name is to use an alias. An alias is a name that is used to hide an individual’s true identity, but it is more commonly used for criminal activities. Therefore, this option is not recommended for authors looking for an alternative to a pen name.
Finally, a third alternative is to use a stage name. This option is typically used by authors who wish to be recognized by their readers and the public, as their stage name helps to provide them with a professional identity. Stage names are often used for actors, musicians, and other entertainers.
Advantages of Pen Names
The advantages of using a pen name are numerous, and one of the most significant is that it gives the author the freedom to write whatever they please without being judged by society. This allowed Twain to focus on the topics he wanted to explore, without worrying that his work may not be accepted.
Using a pen name also allows authors to have much more control over their work, as they can decide who to share it with and when. This can be highly beneficial, particularly when the author is trying to establish a reputation in a new genre.
Additionally, when publishing a book, authors can take advantage of existing reputations by using a pen name, which may help them increase their popularity and sales. Twain was able to use his pen name to draw readers’ attention to his work, because readers were already familiar with it.
Finally, using a pen name can protect an author’s personal identity and help to keep their work and reputation separate from their private life. This was an important factor for Twain, as he was able to stay anonymous while still being able to write without fear of being judged.