6 replies
My newest series of products and services (it's a whole lineup of various things for a particular market) will be sold online and in person through classes in multiple formats.

Just choosing a pen name may be easy but this situation is a little different so I come to my #1 source asking for input.

Considerations in the decision to have a pen name or not and how to go about it:

1. I've sold a few of these products as test/beta things with my real name on them. Few = less than 100.

2. Many friends and all my family and some previous customers know who wrote this stuff or that I've been working on it.

3. On the main focus piece that is being launched now, an extremely close relative with the same last name is my coauthor.

She has various degrees and professional licenses that may be important to the credibility of the thing in the minds of some people.

An example would be I'm a diet (not our market) "expert" who has lost 100 pounds and written a book but she is a practicing physician with 40 years experience, thousands of clients, commas behind her name, etc.

To compound the problem, two other close family members with the same last name - one the same as her with the commas - are closely related and will be known to the public as associated with the project.

4. Part of the first wave of massive marketing will include us (mostly me) doing in-person marketing presentations, seminars, etc. I'm afraid I'd forget to use my pen name or I'd see an old girlfriend or old friend from church or whatever! Then what??

So, there are 4 people that may or may not need a pen name that all have the same real last name and two of them have licenses that may require them to use their real name.

The main reason to even consider this at this point is to eliminate the family ties as a possible negative. Or do you think it's not a big deal?

Imagine your mom, dad, and brother used your how to make $500 a week program and they really made the money and have done so consistently for 2 years. List them as testimonials and there isn't a soul that would believe them. This is the kind of thing I want to avoid.

Thanks for any suggestions!
Mark
#conundrum #input #pen
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  • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
    Owwww!

    Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

    So, there are 4 people that may or may not need a pen name that all have the same real last name and two of them have licenses that may require them to use their real name.

    The main reason to even consider this at this point is to eliminate the family ties as a possible negative. Or do you think it's not a big deal?
    Yeah - I think it is a problem.

    I think you should definitely use a pseudonym, and all but one of the other participants should also use a pseudonym. I don't think that is illegal, but you should check further. (actors in a commercial get to play a doctor, doctors should be allowed to play actors).

    An alternative might be to list some of the parties as "anonymous", but I assume you want to use the "commas" whenever possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
    Mark, is it possible you're creating objections that may not manifest?

    If you can provide proof and your family members are fine with using their real names, is there an opportunity to make the family connection a positive part of your story?

    "Hi folks, I'm Mark. I had this great idea about [niche]. As fate would have it, my sister is an expert in [niche]. I ran the idea by her and, boy, not only was she excited about it, she immediately wanted to use mom and dad as guinea pigs. I normally don't involve family in my hair-brained schemes, but sis and I were so confident we had a winner, it seemed rude not to involve mom and dad. They gave us so much. It was time to give back."

    Meh, you know what I mean.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

    So, there are 4 people that may or may not need a pen name that all have the same real last name and two of them have licenses that may require them to use their real name.

    The main reason to even consider this at this point is to eliminate the family ties as a possible negative. Or do you think it's not a big deal?

    Mark,

    I say just use real names all the way around. I think your concerns will prove to be overblown and unfounded. Besides, if anyone questions the relationship you all share, just explain it to them - they'll understand. Family businesses and related business owners are everywhere these days. If fact, addressing the family ties and why relatives are involved will make a great introduction - put it up front for everyone to see and no one will have to ask you about it later.

    Trying to remember everyone's pen name will be a pain, especially down the road a ways. By sticking with the truth, you'll always have the correct answer without having to even think about it. I would personally wonder why everyone associated with the project had to assume a pen name more than I would wonder why this was a family business.

    Good luck,

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Mark, if this a project you'd be happy to associate yourself with - in other words, you don't have other existing or planned projects that might take precedence - then IMO, you should go with your own name. As you say, you'll be doing most of the in-person presentations and seminars anyway.

    The family connection shouldn't be a hindrance considering they were actually a part of the project, not brought in later for testimonials. Could even be a plus factor as Dan says.

    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author quadagon
    Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

    4. Part of the first wave of massive marketing will include us (mostly me) doing in-person marketing presentations, seminars, etc. I'm afraid I'd forget to use my pen name or I'd see an old girlfriend or old friend from church or whatever! Then what??
    I've always recommended that people keep the same first name for their pen name.

    It helps on the rare occasion that this kind of thing happens.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    I say Mark, none of it's a big deal.

    Help people. Sign your name. People trust a human being - using their name - who helps them. Trusting people buy your stuff.

    Anything beyond this is fear, and wading into, feeling and releasing fears is the way to online success.

    Sometimes, our mind ties to outfox fears that never existed until we created them.
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