I am not a published author (well, in creative literature – I do have a scientific paper or two). One of the things that niggles at me is what name I should publish under, whether or not I should use a pen name.
The up side is that, unlike my current name, I have control over it. I can craft an impression with a name, make it stand out without sounding too weird (and I have one in mind that does just that, IMHO), something that fits me. If it’s something not widely used, then I claim social media and such for it, to have a unified web presence. Not that there is anything wrong with www.pennametheauthor.com or www.pennamebooks.com or anything like that, but I would much prefer www.penname.com.
The downside, of course, is the actual human side of things. When the general public learns an author’s true name, I think the tendency is to start thinking of them by their real name, at least nowadays, with constant media exposure, book signings, interviews and the like. In the past, an author’s only representation could be their works; today, I think, an author is a bit more of a public figure, or can be.
But is Ziggy Stardust really just David Bowie? Can an author have a pen persona, akin to the stage persona? Can the non-writers in the author’s life understand that? I’m not sure, but the closer that I get to writing something I want to send out, the more that I want to use that pen persona. Is it a good idea? Hell, I don’t know, but if all I ever did was follow the “good ideas” in writing, I’d be filled with conflicting, useless advice and never do anything original.
So we’ll see how this goes.