How to come up with your "pen-name"?

29 replies
EDIT: I'm deleting this post.
#penname
  • Profile picture of the author andynathan
    Maybe you can just call yourself Johnny B Write.

    Or maybe you can set up a blog, write great content, develop a followijg, and be yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    I was never good at coming up with names.

    I have a St. Bernard I call "Buddy" if that tells you anything.

    Not sure how you pronounce your first name "*****". Is it Joe Ram?

    Anyways, you could simply use Joe for your first name.

    I don't think the last name matters much.

    There's a lot of people that have difficult first names so they go by a nickname or an abbreviated version of it.

    There's a couple well known marketers/copywriters that go by a pen name. I think the marketers do it because they want to be seen as an expert in their field. If they use the same name in several different niches...they think it exposes their intentions.

    Not sure why some copywriters use a pen name. Guess it could be for the same reason.

    Just some thoughts.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dyson Clay
      EDIT: deleted.
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      • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
        If it makes you feel any better, I don't exactly have an easy name to say

        At school it would be 'half a pint of larger' or 'half a penny' (yup, showing my age now!) or Arf Arf!

        In fact, I've been called Arthur, erferr, erfah, irrfah, alfi and anything but my name.

        When I started out, I questioned whether having a pen name would be helpful...but lots of writers have strange names.

        Your name is part of your branding which is YOU!

        If you find that people are struggling to say your name, shorten it or give yourself a nickname.

        At the end of the day, you should be hired for your skills and the results you provide - if someone won't hire you based on your name, are they REALLY worth having as your clients?
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      • Profile picture of the author ERPLeadsWriter
        Originally Posted by Dyson Clay View Post

        If this way of thinking applies to headlines and copy-content; then why the hell not with your name?
        I lean more towards the reason of maintaining some anonymity. I mean we copywriters are all human right? As such, we have different sides to ourselves. For some people, you can't just blur the work-life boundary and pen-names can be considered a way to maintain that distinction. In fact, I'm sure plenty of authors had different pen-names that doubled as labels to categorize what they wrote.

        Of course, this should give you a little more reason to make your pen-name memorable. If not by the name itself, then at least you can make it easier for people to associate something good with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author MaxTheMarketer
    Originally Posted by Dyson Clay View Post

    I don't know exactly how relevant or irrelevant this question is in terms of the possibilities of achieving "world class" copywriting fees and international recognition...

    But how important is it to have a good name?

    I'm a native English speaker that lives in Europe, but my real name is ***** ***********(Not Dyson Clay ) rather difficult and I'm afraid that it will scare off the clients online (elance n such) that I will need to target...at least in this initial stage of my career...

    This as being a "native english speaker" is considered to be a must for many of these jobs. Also I figured I might as well take this opportunity to create a strong name that I can actually build some marketing around.

    I look around this forum and I already see many patterns of people's names...

    So:

    What are the essentials of having a strong "marketable" name?
    -Is it all about getting an "All American" name like John, Kenneth, and so forth?
    -Is it all about the phonological loop? Eg: It has to sound nice in the ear?
    -What about subliminal meanings like "Carlton" (Ritz Carlton...)?
    -Or is it basically about NOT being able to disqualify on the name; as in pick a name that sounds as ordinary as possible?
    -Or should it stand out?

    Curious to hear any of your thoughts on this.

    Cheers.

    P.s. I find "Dyson Clay" for example to sound too "contemporary"; meaning old school business men in their 50's and 60's could be subconciously have more trust in names like "Joe" as opposed to "Dyson" or "Bryce" or any of these pretty-boy names that have associations with younger people...
    I completely agree that the choice of pen-name is one of those small things that can make huge differences in the long run.

    Of course, it is not a deal-breaker unless you choose a name such as Adolf H*tler or something like that (which I assume you won't choose of course).

    Some things to consider when choosing a pen-name:

    1. Your pen-name choice should be decided based on what niche you are trying to communicate with (old, middle-aged or young?).

    2. You want to choose a pen-name that connects with your niche's culture (use a "cool" pen-name if your niche is young or a more formal pen-name if your niche is middle-aged or old).

    3. Your pen-name should be able to be used in most contexts. For example, I tried to use "Max Power" in my dating niche but Facebook did not allow me to use last name "Power" so I had to choose another one.

    4. If you can, your pen-name should have some nice sound to it. Research shows that names (last name that is) ending with vocals such as "o" or "a" or "e" give a more positive feeling. If you can make your pen-name rhyme, the better.

    5. If you can, your pen-name should refer to concrete results your niche are looking for. A too obvious example is Johnny Cash in "making money"-niches which also has powerful culture associations with the famous artist Johnny Cash. But you get the idea thnough! :-)

    Take Care & Have An Awesome Weekend, Fellow Warrior(s)! / Max "MaxTheMarketer" K.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
      Originally Posted by MaxTheMarketer View Post

      unless you choose a name such as Adolf H*tler

      What - are you saying that's taken, with the asterisk n' all?

      Darn!

      Back to the drawing board.
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Banned
    I don't remember which book it was I read it
    in, but a study talked about how pen names
    that used alliteration were remembered 68%
    better by study participants.

    In other words, if you're going to
    use a pen name, consider alliteration
    if you want to be remembered.

    I'm not sure these company
    names are purely coincidence...

    Dunkin’ Donuts
    Best Buy
    Coca-Cola
    Bed Bath & Beyond
    Krispy Kreme

    then there are people
    whose names tend to stick out...

    Jesse Jackson
    Lois Lane
    Marilyn Monroe
    Fred Flintstone

    Just food for thought...
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    • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
      Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

      I don't remember which book it was I read it
      in, but a study talked about how pen names
      that used alliteration were remembered 68%
      better by study participants.

      In other words, if you're going to
      use a pen name, consider alliteration
      if you want to be remembered.

      I'm not sure these company
      names are purely coincidence...

      Dunkin' Donuts
      Best Buy
      Coca-Cola
      Bed Bath & Beyond
      Krispy Kreme

      then there are people
      whose names tend to stick out...

      Jesse Jackson
      Lois Lane
      Marilyn Monroe
      Fred Flintstone

      Just food for thought...
      A lot of the characters in superhero comics are the same:

      Peter Parker
      Bruce Banner
      Matt Murdock
      Bill Bixby
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    • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
      Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

      I don't remember which book it was I read it
      in, but a study talked about how pen names
      that used alliteration were remembered 68%
      better by study participants.

      In other words, if you're going to
      use a pen name, consider alliteration
      if you want to be remembered.

      I'm not sure these company
      names are purely coincidence...

      Dunkin' Donuts
      Best Buy
      Coca-Cola
      Bed Bath & Beyond
      Krispy Kreme

      then there are people
      whose names tend to stick out...

      Jesse Jackson
      Lois Lane
      Marilyn Monroe
      Fred Flintstone

      Just food for thought...
      Don't know the book but Eben Pagan talked about it in this guru products. His David DeAngelo pen name wasn't by accident. Nor was Double Your Dating. As well as the alliteration there's a rhythm. It's almost... Daaaaa... da-da.

      BTW Shawn - you left out Bam Bam... not to mention the most famous blonde of all time Marilyn Monroe (who was originally Norma Jean Mortenson)... Daaaa... da-da... Hmmm... I guess there's something to it after all.
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      Scary good...
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      • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
        Originally Posted by CopyMonster View Post

        Don't know the book but Eben Pagan talked about it in this guru products. His David DeAngelo pen name wasn't by accident. Nor was Double Your Dating. As well as the alliteration there's a rhythm. It's almost... Daaaaa... da-da.

        BTW Shawn - you left out Bam Bam... not to mention the most famous blonde of all time Marilyn Monroe (who was originally Norma Jean Mortenson)... Daaaa... da-da... Hmmm... I guess there's something to it after all.
        Norma Jean Baker.
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        • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
          Originally Posted by Rezbi View Post

          Norma Jean Baker.
          We're both wrong. Apparently she was born Norma Jeane Mortenson. It was changed to Baker sometime after birth.

          Marilyn Monroe

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          Scary good...
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          • Profile picture of the author Jeremey
            Pen names for copywriters?

            I didn't know we could do this??

            - Jeremey Hunsicker
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            • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
              Originally Posted by Jeremey View Post

              Pen names for copywriters?

              I didn't know we could do this??

              - Jeremey Hunsicker
              Yep, we can do it. AWAI's Michael Masterson is a pen name (real name is Mark Ford).

              I personally know of two copywriters who have done it for professional reasons. And no, I will not publicly divulge who they are.

              Both of them are strong English speaking copywriters but have birth-given ethnic names. Clients wouldn't hire them... wouldn't even get on the phone with them or look at their portfolios because the clients had strong pre-conceived perceptions that they were ESL copywriters and their paid work would be sub-par.

              As soon as they started using a pen name, the number of leads they got went up significantly.

              Is it fair to be judged on the basis of your name alone?

              Nope. But that's the reality in business.

              BTW, it's not just copywriters... actor Kal Penn talks about how using "Kal Penn" early in his acting career instead of his birth name caused his audition callbacks to increase by 50%. (See Wikipedia)

              Sometimes it's done to make it more memorable... musician Sting's real name is Gordon Sumter.

              Sometimes it's done to make it easier to spell... musician Daryl Hall (of 80's rock band Hall and Oates) legally changed the spelling of his last name Hohl to Hall for professional reasons. He knew people would have trouble remembering the correct spelling his birth last name. I know this one because my mother went to high school with Daryl and was in school & church choir with him.

              To the OP... some tips.

              First, pick an American first name that is common for someone of your age. You can use this database from the U.S. social security adminstration to see what the most common birth first names were in a given year. I don't know how old you are but Joe (short for Joseph) is a pretty common American first name.

              Another option is to use a similar sounding first name. Your given first name is *****, so you could use Jordan instead.

              Popular Baby Names

              Second, you opt to use a different last name... the same last name... or just shorten it for professional pen name reasons.

              For example, your given name is ***** **********.

              I don't know your exact age but something like Joe Falkenburg, Jordan Falkenburg or Jordan Falk are all possible pen names IMHO.

              Hope that helps,

              Mike

              P.S. Sometimes a pen name makes sense for going into a new niche or business venture. Copywriter Chris Haddad has created a string of very successful ClickBank info-products in the relationship niche. He uses a pen name of Michael Fiore (Fiore is his mother's maiden name) to keep his two different businesses (copywriting and info-products) separate and to build two different name brands at the same time.
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              • Profile picture of the author Jeremey
                Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

                P.S. Sometimes a pen name makes sense for going into a new niche or business venture. Copywriter Chris Haddad has created a string of very successful ClickBank info-products in the relationship niche. He uses a pen name of Michael Fiore (Fiore is his mother's maiden name) to keep his two different businesses (copywriting and info-products) separate and to build two different name brands at the same time.
                Very true...I used my first and middle name to market a music release last year (see sig LOL), as my full name was very closely associated with a certain musical act. Since my original tunes sounded nothing like the act I was associated with (or so I thought), I went with something different to separate myself. It did not work. :rolleyes:

                I'm already stuck with Jeremey Hunsicker for copywriting, but if I had a chance to start over, I'd probably go with "Stabby McGhee."
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    • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
      Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

      I don't remember which book it was I read it
      in, but a study talked about how pen names
      that used alliteration were remembered 68%
      better by study participants.

      In other words, if you're going to
      use a pen name, consider alliteration
      if you want to be remembered.

      I'm not sure these company
      names are purely coincidence...

      Dunkin' Donuts
      Best Buy
      Coca-Cola
      Bed Bath & Beyond
      Krispy Kreme

      then there are people
      whose names tend to stick out...

      Jesse Jackson
      Lois Lane
      Marilyn Monroe
      Fred Flintstone

      Just food for thought...
      This makes me furiously happy. I'm overly fond of alliteration when I'm writing taglines and slogans. I can't help it! It works so well!
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      Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    I recommend you call yourself Writer Willy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I'd use the single name "*****" - easy to remember and unique.
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      Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world changes forever for that one dog.
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      Vegetarian, an ancient Mohawk Indian word that means "poor hunter"
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  • Here you go:

    Random Name Generator

    Enough names for multiple personalities.
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    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author i580n
    Personally, I'd go with something normal and American. There's no reason to put yourself in a tougher situation when you can just use a different name and avoid the issue entirely.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wytnyt
    Use Joe Falconburg.

    Your brand logo could be a bird clasping a pen in its talons.
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    Take Advantage Of This Profit-Pulling Marketing "Vaccine" That Ensures Your Business Won't Be The Next To Flatline... Save Your Business... CLICK HERE NOW... or else... helplessly watch it fade into oblivion...
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    • Profile picture of the author MaxTheMarketer
      Haha, thanks to this thread I finally came up with an ingenious name for my dating advice for men niche.

      However, due to its awesomeness I cannot share it!

      But I will tell you this: it applies rhymes, unconscious cultural associations, speaks indirectly to results people in my niche are looking for and Facebook do not hate it! ^^,

      Btw, that name generator is a great brainstorm-generator to get started with! :-)

      Take Care & Have An Awesome Day! / Max "MaxTheMarketer" K.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dyson Clay
    Awesome stuff here guys!
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnos
    The first question need to ask yourself when coming up with a good pen name is what he trying to accomplish?

    If you use a pen name, or your own name, it's going to be a representation of your identity; a pen name is basically a way for your readers to associate with you.

    I know this may sound like a really ridiculously simple answer, But do think about if the situation was reversed, for whatever niche you're in, and think about what would stand out to you, or catch your attention, and also think about what the name says about you and your business.

    For example, the name Pagan For someone who runs a dating website would obviously be self sabotaging, and you need to consider what you want your name to communicate about you and your business (As with David DeAngelo being all-american sounding, and helping to communicate Eben's message to his readers that he is the stereo typical average guy).
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    • Profile picture of the author staceythewriter
      There are probably three Americans in the whole world who can pronounce this American child’s name - her mom, her director and Oprah. But, come February 24th, Quvenzhan√© Wallis, the youngest Oscar nominee ever, will become a household word, whether you botch her name or not, simply because of her talent; everyone will know who you mean. When you strip it all away, ***** ***********, that’s all that really matters. Show 'em the results of your copywriting skills. Make ’em money. And who cares!

      Good luck my dear.
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      Stacey Mathis
      Stacey Mathis Copywriting
      The Copywriter's Highway to Success
      http://www.staceythewriter.com
      Twitter: @staceythewriter

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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    Here's another excellent name: Copywriting Chuck
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    I'm thinking something like Parker Papermate.

    Can't get more pen-namey than that.
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