NaNo NaNo NaNo… Batman!

A Guest Post by Sam Knight

So you just finished your NaNoWriMo story, right? Now what?

Sell it! Publish it! Yay! You win!

(Pssst. Sam! Over here…)

Um, yeah?

(I’m too embarrassed to publish it, or to even finish it, really...)

That’s all right. We all feel that way. It’s like public speaking. You have to practice putting yourself out there. The more you do it, the easier it becomes!

(Never mind. You don’t understand me. No one does…)

Hold on there! I have walked in those particular shoes. I have stubbed my toe on the rocks in that road! Give me a chance. What’s the problem?

(Well… I don’t know how to say this, but I'm writing something I don’t want my mom to find out about.)

OOOOOoooooo….. I see.


What you need is a nom de plume. A pen name. A pseudonym under which you can express yourself, without telling anyone who you are!

(Isn’t that fraud? Pretending to be someone else?)

Actors do it all the time!

Of course, it depends upon how you do it. If you go around pretending to be someone else who is real, yes. Don’t pick the name Stephen King or use a photo of him for your Bio. That would be fraud. But if you are creating an alternate personae of yourself, then no. Using a pen name is a commonly accepted practice. Many famous authors use them, for many different reasons.

However, if you choose to use a pen name, there are side effects and repercussions. Make sure you understand them before you do it. Look into the legalities. Seriously.

If you sign contracts, you may need to disclose your real name. (How else would you get paid?) More importantly, realize that if your book becomes the next Harry Potter and you picked the name Warty Slimebutt, then that’s what everyone will know you as—for the rest of your life. It won’t be pretty.

Sadly, if you have the wrong REAL name you may HAVE to use a pen name.


Imagine your parents named you Walt Disney. (I know that seems ludicrous, but I just did an internet search and it said “There are 758 people in the U.S. named Ronald McDonald”. Explain that.) Now imagine you want to write fairy tales. There is a certain company that won’t like that much. Even if you decide on mysteries or romance, their lawyers will still eat you alive. That would be a good time to use a nom de plume.

(Sam? Did you ever use a pen name?)

Er… well… I planned to use a pen name for what I wrote for NaNo two years ago. I did it so I could write something too graphic, too extreme for what I want to be known for. Beyond what I was comfortable writing, actually. And it worked! It mentally and emotionally freed me to write what I couldn’t before.

It was like being … Batman.

Of course, I never published it. But the idea of using the pen name allowed me to write it. And that is where it all begins. NaNo NaNo NaNo…

*  *  *

As well as being part of the WordFire Press Production Team, Sam Knight is the Senior Editor for Villainous Press and author of three children’s books, three short story collections, two novels, and more than a dozen short stories, including a Kindle Worlds Novella co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson.

He can be found at and contacted at



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