MusingsPersonalWritersWriting

Pen Names Revisited

About this time last year, I made the call to go with my real name rather than a pen name.  I debated the merits of both and eventually voted on my real name.  But lately I’ve been thinking about the whole issue of having a pen name again.  It has always been an appealing option–getting to actually choose my  name.  Even re-inventing myself if I so chose.  Privacy was always paramount.  Then there’s marketability.  Is my real name easy to remember?  Is there anyone else out there with a similar name?  PBW did a post on branding the other day that really got me thinking about that issue.  And I’ve been discussing marketing with Zoe, who’s hugely enthusiastic about self-promotion (how I wish I had that girl’s energy!).

In any event, I started thinking about how I could use a variant of my real name, along with some other key concepts/ideas to come up with another pen name. There are dozens of variations on my name Kathleen.  Kat.  Kate.  Katherine, Kathryn, Kaitlyn.  Some are more common than others.

It’s very important to me that I come from Mississippi–mostly because I am intelligent, well-educated, and very much want to get it out to the general public that we’re not all a bunch of idiot, racist red-necks.  It’s the hospitality state.  The magnolia state.  The symbol I keep coming back to is the magnolia because, well, the white-tailed deer, red fox, bottlenose dolphin, and whole plethora of other associated animals etc. didn’t lend themselves much to names.  So from magnolia I pulled Nolan.  Yeah, I know, it’s a stretch, but there you go.

So Kait Nolan.  Short, simple, easy to spell and remember.  No major anybodys come up on google or amazon.   I haven’t even decided 100% that I’m going to go with a pen name (though I admit to always having leaned in that direction).  But the .com was available, so I registered it.  I feel a little like a geek, particularly since I’m not planning on doing any web development anytime soon (not with 3 classes to teach this semester on top of my regular 40 hour a week job).  Anyway, there you have it.  And yeah, I totally set up a WP blog for it–Murder and Magnolias.  Not much there yet, but it’s a work in progress.

5 thoughts on “Pen Names Revisited

  1. The only thing I would say is to consider the spelling carefully. Kait may seem easy to spell, but is it easy to remember? I’ve never actually seen that spelling used before so I, for instance, would be likely to goof up and search for Kate if I was going to look up someone with that name. I know thinking about pen names can be fun. I thought about it for a while too and had fun with the idea but I decided to just use my initials.

  2. I did consider Kate, but Kate Nolan is a realtor in Massachusetts and is a much more common name. LOTS more stuff comes up on google for it. There’s less competition for attention with Kait, so that was the logic.

  3. Hey, thanks for the link to my blog. 🙂 And thanks for the complement. 😛

    Kait Nolan really is a great name. The only thing to remember is, if you do anything where people will hear your website instead of see it visually, you’ll have to spell it, otherwise they’ll go to katenolan.com

    I don’t know though…

    I kindof think Kaity Bottlenose was hugely marketable. 😛

  4. Ha! Thanks for my morning belly laugh. 😀 If I do anything where they’ll hear my website instead of visit (and other than podcasts, I can’t think of anything, as those would be posted ON said website, so they’d already be there), I could always have that announcer dude (you know, the one who does all the As Seen On TV product commercials) say “And you can visit her online at triple W dot K-A-I-T, that’s Kaitnolan.com.” I think part of the plan, if I definitively go with this pen name, is to make some efforts to bring it up in the ranks at google, such that something actually comes UP on the first page when you google it, so that people don’t automatically click the “Did you mean Kate Nolan?” link. I need to decide if I’m planning on using this for my romantic suspense, or the cozy series I have planned.

  5. hehe awesome! Though if you do a podcast, you can get your novel up on podiobooks.com and itunes. So you might be surprised at where people come from, and having your website so they can visit you for more of your stuff is definitely good.

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