Pages

Amazon Pen Name or Real Name?

What is an Amazon Pen Name?

Your Amazon Pen Name is the public name associated with contributions to the Amazon Community.

You are asked to pick a Pen Name the first time you participate in the community but you can change it later. This pen name shows on your public profile page and next to any Customer Reviews, Seller Feedback or Customer Discussions you post. Your Amazon Pen Name can be your real name (and an Amazon Real Name, see below) or a pseudonym.

What is an Amazon Real Name?
If you use your real name and verify it with credit card details, you get a Real Name™ badge that will show next to your public content on Amazon. If you do not have a credit card on file with Amazon.com, you cannot claim a Real Name™ attribution.

Advantage: Posting content using your real-world identity can “potentially increase your reputation in the community”, Amazon say.
Real Name™ attribution options are generated by Amazon.com based on the cardholder names entered for credit cards you have registered with us.

So Why Use A Pen Name?

Writers choose pen-names for a variety of reasons.

  1. Your real name is hard to remember or spell, is silly or obscene, or doesn’t suit your genre.
  2. Your real name is the same as, or similar to, another more established author or famous figure.
  3. You are reclusive and don’t want your name to be recognised.
  4. You want to start writing in a new genre.
  5. You are working in a genre where books written by the opposite gender sell better.
  6. Some female authors choose a gender-neutral pen name because sexism can still impact sales, in any genre.

Pen Names & Book Marketing

Using a pen-name as a marketing tool  is about putting a clue to your work into your name. This can work very well for nonfiction writers, in particular, but also genre fiction writers. Supposing my name is Kate Evans and I write keep-fit books. I can call myself ‘Keep Fit Kate’ or ‘Keep Fit Kate Evans’, and use that name when reviewing books on Amazon, Goodreads and other book review sites, making browsers who read my reviews about other keep fit books more likely to click through to my page.

Find out more about pen names and real names on Amazon.

, , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to Amazon Pen Name or Real Name?

  1. Jim April 18, 2014 at 4:40 am #

    I recently wrote a post about how to add multiple pen names to one Author Central account. It makes it easy to keep your various pen names under one account. Hopefully it helps! http://selfpublishingadvice.org/amazon-pen-name-or-real-name/

  2. Dave Tishendorf March 13, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Questions I have not been able to find answers to ANYWHERE are, if you have a couple of pen names on Amazon, do you have to have two Author Central pages for them, with two different sets of personal and professional information? If so, how do you avoid lying on either or both of those pages? Same question applies for the About the Author page in your book. This is especially tricky for me because one of my pen names is a female name. (I’m told by nearly everyone that women won’t buy a romance novel unless it is written by a woman.)

    Thanks.

    • Debbie Young March 14, 2014 at 9:52 am #

      For the most authoritative answer to your technical question about Author Central, I suggest you ask Amazon, Dave – but what you also need to ask yourself is whether you are happy to reveal to readers of either of your books that you are also the “other” author? Because if you are, what’s the point in having a pen name in the first place? I suggest you look at other authors whom you admire, who you know work under many names, and see what they do. I suspect that most will only reveal their other identities after becoming well-established in each persona, with a loyal following of readers, who actually may by that point be at the stage where they’ll be happy to read anything the author wrote, regardless of its genre and apparent author. I’m thinking of the very prolific Jean Plaidy, for example, who had many pen names – see this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Hibbert But if you are writing for very diverse audiences, this might backfire – e.g. women’s romance and children’s books. I’m not sure whether the recent debacle with J K Rowling’s use of a pseudonym for her first adult book helped or hindered. It may have gained her sales and got people talking about her, but she also got a lot of flack for it – and caused many parents anxiety when trying to hide her dark book with adult content from their children.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 50 Ways To Reach Your Reader. # 2: Indie Authors & Amazon | How to Self-Publish & Sell Your Books - October 20, 2012

    […] Using a pen-name as a marketing tool on Amazon is about putting a clue to your work into your name. This can work very well for nonfiction writers, in particular, but also genre fiction writers. Supposing my name is Kate Evans and I write keep-fit books. I can call myself ‘Keep Fit Kate’ or ‘Keep Fit Kate Evans’, and use that name when reviewing books on Amazon, making browsers who read my reviews about other keep fit books more likely to click through to my page. You can learn more in this post about Amazon Pen Names. […]

Leave a Reply