To Pen Name or To Not Pen Name

The decision to use your real name or a pen name is a difficult one. On one hand you want to see your name plastered over all your novels at the bookstores, but your real name might hold you back. J.K. Rowling, best known for her Harry Potter series used a pen name. Her publisher suggested that she use one because he thought young boys might not read a book written by a woman.  Stephen King published four novels under the name Richard Bachman, based on his publishers feeling that the public wouldn’t buy more than one novel per year from a single author. Even E.L. James, the famed 50 Shades of Grey writer, didn’t use her real name.

So if some of today’s best-selling authors are using pen names, what does that say? Did the name printed on the cover of their books really make such an impact on their sales? As far as I’m concerned, definitely! I myself am guilty of judging a book by its cover. I just don’t think the majority of people would be willing to read a book written by an author whose name they couldn’t even pronounce.

In high school I took French and in my class there were two of us named Melissa, so my French teacher would always call me Melissa H. ‘H’ is the first letter of my maiden name but when spoken with a French accent is sounds like Ash. Melissa Ash. For some reason that always resounded with me and I swore, when I was in Grade Ten French class, that one day when I finally had a novel published, I would published under the pen name Melissa Ash. Who wouldn’t want to read a book that Melissa Ash wrote? It just sounds cool, right?

There was the birth of my pen name, but I know you are also wondering what is with sasloveswords. That in itself is another story. Sas is a nickname I’ve had since I was a child. My brother Dave couldn’t pronounce Melissa when he was a baby, so he’d call me Sasa. Sasa stuck with me throughout my childhood but eventually somewhere down the line it just got shortened to Sas. The people closest to me still to this day call me Sas. The ‘loves words’ part was easy. I love words; I love reading and I love writing. I enjoy talking and listening, all of which involve words. Words are amazing. They have the power to make us cry, to make us laugh, to make us feel things we some times don’t even understand. Words, once said aloud, cannot be taken back and the words we wish we could say out loud run through our minds over and over again. Sas loves words! My internet social media persona is simply that.

To the online world I am sasloveswords and maybe one day soon to the book world I will be Melissa Ash. So there you go, my own two characters. Both of which I’m happy with. Wherever you are now Madame Malm (my high school French teacher), thank you for inspiring my pen name. To my brother Dave: thank you for calling me Sas all these years (not saying how many years but it’s been a few now). It’s all thanks to you that I have the perfect name for my blog. 🙂

Come back next week to find out how I’m coping being back to work after the end of my maternity leave. It might surprise you! 🙂

Also if you haven’t done so already subscribe to my blog and receive an email notification every time I update it. Anyone reading this on your mobile device, the subscribe box is towards the bottom of my page after my blog posts and for you that are viewing it on your computer it should be to the right of this post. Thank you! Thank you!

❤ Melissa

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8 thoughts on “To Pen Name or To Not Pen Name

  1. So proud of you Sas. Today was a perfect day for me to read your “To Pen Name or To Not Pen Name. Well done …… it made me laugh and also have a tear. Today some words were said to me that I really did not understand but after reading your words it made me re think …. I don’t need to over think what someone else says. Thanks Cousin xoxo Tracy

  2. This post resonated with me for a number of reasons. For one, since I’m one of your former teachers, I take great pleasure in seeing your writing path. Also, as a writer who uses a pen name himself (Russell is my middle name, to be sure, but in half my world I go by a ‘different’ last name) I can relate to making the pen name decision. When my first book came out I struggled with which name to go by.

    • Wow, thanks Mr. M… for taking the time to read my writing. You were one of my favorite teachers and I appreciated the humor you always brought to our classroom. I consider myself lucky to have many great teachers in high school who encouraged me to pursue my writing and I still carry that inspiration with me today. Thank you!

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