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Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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I copyrighted a book in 1997 under my given name. It has never

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I copyrighted a book in 1997 under my given name. It has never been published. I now wish to self publish the book online under a pseudonym. I intend to go to a book publishing service, like Bookbaby to get this done. Are there any legal pitfalls to publishing under a pseudonym for this book, or any other book I wish to publish in the future? Should the copyrights on future publications be made in my given name, or pseudonym, or does it matter? Any issues with online book publishers that need to be addressed?

Alex Reese :



Hi Alex. My name is Mac

Alex Reese :

In most cases it will not matter, but consider the advice of this author:

Alex Reese :

Hi most cases this is not an important issue and either way will work

Alex Reese :

By the way, using a pen name is XXXXX XXXXX when self-publishing. when you go to self-publish your book, either as an ebook(Amazon, Kobo, etc) or print(Createspace etc), you are asked to give an author name. This field is not automatically filled based on your registered name. So you can fill in any name you want in the author field. This name will show up when someone searches for your book on Amazon, for example. But when it's time to get paid, the distributor(Amazon, Kobo) will look at your registered name and address (on your account), and send the money to that name.

Alex Reese :

Here are some potentials Pros/cons:

Alex Reese :

Pro. Let’s say you’re a well-established writer who wants to change genres. You normally write young adult science fiction but now you want to write cozy adult mysteries. Admittedly, the audience is different and your SF fans might not follow you. Plus, your potential cozy audience might not accept you if they’re aware of your previous work. So changing genre can be a good reason to use a pen name. Also, abandoning a failed book series or moving to a new publisher might be a reason to take on a new identity and start over.

Pro. Your real name doesn’t market well to your genre. The action/adventure novel TANK COMMANDER FROM HELL by Mandrake Slaughter would probably attract more fans of that genre than TANK COMMANDER FROM HELL by Percival Glockenspiel. And Mandrake Slaughter is easier to pronounce.

Pro. For whatever reason, you need your identity to remain anonymous and protected. Let’s say you’re a high-ranking government official who decides to write a thriller that comes uncomfortably close to reality. To reveal your true identity would create a totally different spin on your book, one you might want to avoid.

Pro. Your name is XXXXX XXXXX or it’s hard to pronounce. Also keep in mind that the shorter the name, the larger it can appear on the cover.

Pro. Your real name just happens to be Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald or XXXXX XXXXX. Start thinking about a pen name.

Pro. Sex. By that I mean that you’re the wrong gender. You want to write romance and you’re a guy. Plus, your real name isXXXXX your main character is a black female and you’re a white male with an unmistakable WASP name. The marketing starts when the reader first sees the title followed by your name. It has to make sense to them that you’re qualified to write the book.

Pro. There are two of you. Sometimes keeping the real names of writing teams works such as Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. In their case, both authors write individually under their real names, too. Other times, choosing a single pen name makes more sense.

Con: It will always come out at some point that it’s not your real name, either in a book review, or at a writer’s conference, or during an interview, or in your Wikipedia bio; the truth will be revealed that your real name isXXXXX if you don’t mind the inevitable, then go for it. The best advice is to discuss it with your agent and editor. Weigh all the marketing pros and cons. It works well for some, but not for all. Have a really compelling reason before you make the commitment and it gets embossed in gold on your book cover.

Alex Reese :

However, for copyright purposes, it will not matter.


Thanks, Alex. I will check out the article on yahoo.

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