Worldsmyths



Pen name poll

Poll

Which pen name possibilities do you like?

H.G. Kelly
3 (42.9%)
H.G. (other last name, to be determined, here)
0 (0%)
Harper Grace
0 (0%)
Kay Lee Reynolds
1 (14.3%)
K. Lee
0 (0%)
K.L. Reynolds
0 (0%)
K. Lee Reynolds
3 (42.9%)

Total Members Voted: 7

Jedi Knight Muse

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on: September 21, 2017, 11:18:32 PM
I want to make my author page, but I can't yet until I decide on a pen name. XD So, here's a poll...I had posted a while back that I had thought of a name, which was Morgan A. Gael, but now I'm second guessing it, which is the reason for this post.

I'm really leaning towards H.G. Kelly and Harper Grace, but I'm hesitant because it's the name my sister wanted to use if she'd had a girl instead of a boy and I don't want to use that name if she wants to use it for in case she gets pregnant and has a girl this time...but I think it's such a pretty name, which is why H.G. Kelly would be good to use alternatively, too.

K.Lee and Reynolds are 100% for Firefly characters (Mal and Kaylee), but K.Lee also sounds like Kelly, but with a slight letter change, so it works.

I emailed my aunt and uncle to see if I could get them to send me any family names on my dad's side of the family that I could look at as possibilities, but so far I haven't gotten a response, so I'm probably going to go with one of these...I'm really leaning towards H.G. Kelly. But I also don't know how my sister will feel about me using the name (even the initials) that she wanted/wants to use for if she ever has a girl.

I'm leaning the most towards H.G Kelly...if my sister is okay with it. But I do also like the name K.L. Reynolds (or possibly a different last name).
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JayLee

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Reply #1 on: September 22, 2017, 10:28:21 AM
Just a quick note:

I feel like H.G. Kelly is the best of these options, personally. To me, it's the name that least feels "made up". I like pennames that sound legit. Harper Grace is nice, but to me it feels incomplete. I don't know why.

But what about making K. Lee into a name instead and doing something like Kaylee Reynolds?
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True Neutral

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Reply #2 on: September 22, 2017, 01:46:56 PM
I'm leaning heavily toward H.G. Kelly or K.L. Reynolds. I voted H.G. over K.L. just because it rolls off the tongue (mine at least) a little easier.

The thing about "Kaylee" and anything that sounds like it is that the name "reads" super-super young. Like...child young. Not grown-up and not serious, which...it really depends on your target market and your exact subgenre, but you probably want a name that's going to make someone who sees the name on a shelf or on a page of "books recommended for you" and take you seriously. Middle initials actually help with that, according to research. The research is focused on academics, but think about how many authors use middle initials, whether they use a completely different pen name or a variant of their actual name. It's not just copying Tolkien. It's a means of making oneself sound more authoritative, more official. If you've got a heavy dose of YA or comedy in there, it might be a bit different, but by and large, it's probably best to stick within what's traditionally expected.

And, frankly, fandom shoutout as penname... Unless you expect your entire body of work to be closely related and are paying homage, or at the very least, you're in the same small subgenre as the original, I wouldn't expect everyone to get the reference. You have to consider how it will read to someone who DOESN'T get the reference. Or even someone who's familiar with the original but doesn't make the connection because they're not that closely related.

I hate to sound mean about it, but I'm thinking from the perspective of someone like my mom who might be walking through a book section. My mom is an avid reader (This isn't really her favorite genre, but if it caught her eye anyway...she's been known to read outside of her genre if it really looks interesting.), but she'd be a lot more likely to pick up a book by an H.G. than a Kaylee to even see if it piques her interest or not.  She might make the assumption that a Kaylee is even younger than I am or that the author is trying to sound cutesy. (My mother doesn't have much respect for cutesy.) I'm really thinking about what she'd notice and what she'd ignore, although I'd have a similar bias against super effeminate, super young-sounding names because I picked it up from her.

I'd avoid Harper Grace if just because...well...your sister. It would annoy the crap out of me if my sister stole the name I'd picked out. (It's unlikely to happen with my sisters, but still...it would annoy the crap out of me.) I don't know how your sister is about that sort of thing, but I wouldn't do it without discussing it with her first. If she spots the thing in H.G. and it bothers her, just make it stand for something else when you inevitably get interviewed.

Oh, have you thought about spelling it "Kelley" instead of "Kelly." Or perhaps just "Kell"? Just a random thought.


JayLee

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Reply #3 on: September 22, 2017, 07:07:42 PM
The thing about "Kaylee" and anything that sounds like it is that the name "reads" super-super young. Like...child young. Not grown-up and not serious,
"Ouch," says Jay Lee.
Oh well, can't help what m' parents nicknamed me :)

I dunno, I've met plenty of grown up Kaylees (Kayleigh, Caleigh, Caylee, even a Ceylidh etc.). It's a fairly popular name, and I don't think it sounds like it's trying to be cutesy.

it might be a bit different, but by and large, it's probably best to stick within what's traditionally expected.
On that note, you'd just publish under your own name, but the reasoning why not, in this case, has already been heavily discussed :P
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Reply #4 on: September 22, 2017, 08:23:57 PM
Just a quick note:

I feel like H.G. Kelly is the best of these options, personally. To me, it's the name that least feels "made up". I like pennames that sound legit. Harper Grace is nice, but to me it feels incomplete. I don't know why.

But what about making K. Lee into a name instead and doing something like Kaylee Reynolds?

Yeah, I agree. But now I've had at least three people so far tell me that it reminds them of H.G. Wells, and now I'm like  :-\ :-\ :-\ because otherwise I really like it and think it works.

I could do that. Although anyone who knows me well (and knows the show Firefly) would know that it's super obvious that I was playing with K. Lee/Kay Lee/K.L. Lee because of Kaylee in Firefly, and Reynolds also comes from that, too, so I don't know if I'd want to do that. The reason I was playing with K. Lee or Kay Lee was because outside of the "a" instead of "e," it sounds like "Kelly" (which is my last name...no stalking me. :P ). I'm thinking that I might need to come up with a different last name to use, too, but I don't know what.

The thing about "Kaylee" and anything that sounds like it is that the name "reads" super-super young. Like...child young. Not grown-up and not serious, which...it really depends on your target market and your exact subgenre, but you probably want a name that's going to make someone who sees the name on a shelf or on a page of "books recommended for you" and take you seriously. Middle initials actually help with that, according to research. The research is focused on academics, but think about how many authors use middle initials, whether they use a completely different pen name or a variant of their actual name. It's not just copying Tolkien. It's a means of making oneself sound more authoritative, more official. If you've got a heavy dose of YA or comedy in there, it might be a bit different, but by and large, it's probably best to stick within what's traditionally expected.

I don't think it sounds "super super young" or "child young" at all. It's a play off of my last name, with a slight letter change ("a" instead of "e") and it's also the name of one of my favorite characters from Firefly. So is Reynolds, for that matter.

Quote
And, frankly, fandom shoutout as penname... Unless you expect your entire body of work to be closely related and are paying homage, or at the very least, you're in the same small subgenre as the original, I wouldn't expect everyone to get the reference. You have to consider how it will read to someone who DOESN'T get the reference. Or even someone who's familiar with the original but doesn't make the connection because they're not that closely related.

I'm not expecting anyone to get the reference at all. It just happens to be the character's name, while also being a play off of my last name. If people happen to understand the reference, awesome. But for all they know, Kaylee is just a good, Irish (well, Gaelic - Celtic, which works because I'm Irish on my dad's side) name that I chose. It just also happens to have that extra fandom reference point.

Quote
I hate to sound mean about it, but I'm thinking from the perspective of someone like my mom who might be walking through a book section. My mom is an avid reader (This isn't really her favorite genre, but if it caught her eye anyway...she's been known to read outside of her genre if it really looks interesting.), but she'd be a lot more likely to pick up a book by an H.G. than a Kaylee to even see if it piques her interest or not.  She might make the assumption that a Kaylee is even younger than I am or that the author is trying to sound cutesy. (My mother doesn't have much respect for cutesy.) I'm really thinking about what she'd notice and what she'd ignore, although I'd have a similar bias against super effeminate, super young-sounding names because I picked it up from her.

Again, I don't think it sounds too "young" at all.

Quote
I'd avoid Harper Grace if just because...well...your sister. It would annoy the crap out of me if my sister stole the name I'd picked out. (It's unlikely to happen with my sisters, but still...it would annoy the crap out of me.) I don't know how your sister is about that sort of thing, but I wouldn't do it without discussing it with her first. If she spots the thing in H.G. and it bothers her, just make it stand for something else when you inevitably get interviewed.

Obviously I wouldn't do it without discussing it with her...

For what it's worth, I don't think she really minds. She sent me a text earlier asking if I was stealing the name, because I had posted on Facebook last night with a list of pen name choices, including Harper Grace (with a wink, meaning she was kidding), and I said no, not if she doesn't want me to. She never responded but the ball is totally in her court. I could still use H.G. Kelly and have H.G. stand for a billion other things.

Also, I think my sister would think it'd be pretty cool to have a kid with the same name as her sister's author name...especially if her sister (me) ended up being famous. (This is something my friend pointed out to me when discussing the text my sister sent, but I totally agree this is probably the case.)

Quote
Oh, have you thought about spelling it "Kelley" instead of "Kelly." Or perhaps just "Kell"? Just a random thought.
No.

My last name is Kelly. I'm keeping it spelled the way it is. And if I end up using H.G. Kelly, it will allow me to at least keep that part of my family's/my full name in it. I'm not changing the way I spell my last name.

The thing about "Kaylee" and anything that sounds like it is that the name "reads" super-super young. Like...child young. Not grown-up and not serious,
"Ouch," says Jay Lee.
Oh well, can't help what m' parents nicknamed me :)

Seriously. My real name is Allison, and my nickname is Ally...so if I used my nickname as part of my author name (I'm more than likely not, obviously), would that sound "child young," too? (Directing this at @True Neutral )
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 08:30:24 PM by Jedi Knight Muse »
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Xanxa

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Reply #5 on: September 22, 2017, 08:45:04 PM
I see this topic has moved on since our discussion about it on Facebook.  I take it you've abandoned the Gale/Gael ideas now.

IMO - H G anything does remind me of H G Wells.  But having said that, I was at school with a girl whose initials were H G and our chemistry teacher nicknamed her "Mercury" because Hg is the periodic table designation for mercury.  At no time did I ever think of time machines and H G Wells when I was at school with her. 

I wouldn't advise using Kelly Mercury though, it sounds a bit too Freddie Mercury to me, LOL! 

I would get the Firefly reference, although I would add that Kaylee was a nickname.  Her full name was Kaywinnit Lee Frye.  (Never heard of Kaywinnit as a name before, incidentally).

To someone of my age-group, I wouldn't necessarily think of Kaylee as being a younger generation name, but perhaps from the point of view of someone in their 70s (don't know how old True Neutral's mother is) it might sound very young and girly.  However, I wouldn't disregard a book on the basis of the author's name, whether it be a pen name or a given name. 

What about reversing the initials - G H Kelly?  Would that work?  How about other variants, such as K L Grace, K Lee Grace, Lee K Grace?
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JayLee

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Reply #6 on: September 22, 2017, 09:16:04 PM
I have no idea what Firefly is. So reference went waayyyy over my head  :P

Had someone already brought up using your initials? A _ Kelly? Otherwise (for me ignoring HG Wells was pretty easy, but I could see it being a problem) I liked Xanxa's suggestion of GH Kelly.
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Reply #7 on: September 22, 2017, 09:21:16 PM
I see this topic has moved on since our discussion about it on Facebook.  I take it you've abandoned the Gale/Gael ideas now.

IMO - H G anything does remind me of H G Wells.  But having said that, I was at school with a girl whose initials were H G and our chemistry teacher nicknamed her "Mercury" because Hg is the periodic table designation for mercury.  At no time did I ever think of time machines and H G Wells when I was at school with her. 

I wouldn't advise using Kelly Mercury though, it sounds a bit too Freddie Mercury to me, LOL! 

I would get the Firefly reference, although I would add that Kaylee was a nickname.  Her full name was Kaywinnit Lee Frye.  (Never heard of Kaywinnit as a name before, incidentally).

To someone of my age-group, I wouldn't necessarily think of Kaylee as being a younger generation name, but perhaps from the point of view of someone in their 70s (don't know how old True Neutral's mother is) it might sound very young and girly.  However, I wouldn't disregard a book on the basis of the author's name, whether it be a pen name or a given name. 

What about reversing the initials - G H Kelly?  Would that work?  How about other variants, such as K L Grace, K Lee Grace, Lee K Grace?

Haha, yeah. And now I'm in the process of making another Facebook post to the fantasy writers support group, with a poll. :P Just being slow about it at the moment. I'm more than likely abandoning Gale/Gaael at the moment, yeah.

Haha, I wouldn't use (Kelly) Mercury as a pen name, anyway. :P

You make a good point about Kaylee being a nickname for Kaywinnit. I'd almost forgotten that. :O But I wouldn't use Kaywinnit, either, haha.

I mean, I guess I could reverse the initials or do those variants. None of them particularly stick out to me as saying "oooh, I really like that!" I could use Kay Lee Allison...

Alana was another name that was suggested to me last night...I think Alana Grace? I might play around with the name Alana.

I have no idea what Firefly is. So reference went waayyyy over my head  :P

Had someone already brought up using your initials? A _ Kelly? Otherwise (for me ignoring HG Wells was pretty easy, but I could see it being a problem) I liked Xanxa's suggestion of GH Kelly.

WHAAAAAAT?!

YOU! WATCH FIREFLY! RIGHT NOW! I DEMAND IT!

(It's a space western. The main character is (loosely) based on Han Solo. It was created by Joss Whedon of Buffy/Angel fame. I could go on and on and on. :P If you have Netflix, I think it's up on there for streaming. It's also on On Demand. It only lasted for one season plus a movie because Fox was stupid and gave it the stupidest time slot and didn't promo it correctly, and also aired it out of order.)

I mean, I've thought about using my initials but I don't really like them. It doesn't flow well like HG Kelly does. Not sure how I feel about GH Kelly. If you can see HG being a problem...unfortunately, I'm probably going to end up not being able to us it. :(

Also, my middle name sucks and is old fashioned (I mean, it doesn't suck, I shouldn't say that. It was my grandmother's name and I never know her), so outside of maybe...playing off of it and using the name Ella, I'm not likely to use it.
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JayLee

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Reply #8 on: September 22, 2017, 09:37:13 PM
WHAAAAAAT?!

YOU! WATCH FIREFLY! RIGHT NOW! I DEMAND IT!
.... okay *shuffles off to find it on Netflix

I will put it on my list for sure. Sounds fun. Gotta put the finishing touches on my website, then maybe I'll start tonight. I've blown through a lot of cartoons this week since I've been sick. Running out of stuff to watch :)
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Reply #9 on: September 22, 2017, 09:39:47 PM
WHAAAAAAT?!

YOU! WATCH FIREFLY! RIGHT NOW! I DEMAND IT!
.... okay *shuffles off to find it on Netflix

I will put it on my list for sure. Sounds fun. Gotta put the finishing touches on my website, then maybe I'll start tonight. I've blown through a lot of cartoons this week since I've been sick. Running out of stuff to watch :)

Lol, don't feel pressured to watch it, I was (1%) kidding. :P Though I do think you would probably like it. It took me a little bit to get into it, but once I did...I was hooked!
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True Neutral

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Reply #10 on: September 22, 2017, 10:39:24 PM
@Jedi Knight Muse -

1. I didn't know that Kelly is your actual last name.
2. I was referring to "Kaylee" and things like "K. Lee" that, when sounded out, seem like they're supposed to be "Kaylee." Ally comes off as less young than Kaylee. I'm trying to think from the perspective of someone who doesn't know you and has never heard of this book before, perhaps someone middle-aged...which name is going to pique their interest most. It may sound stereotypical, but "whatever sounds the most serious."


Jedi Knight Muse

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Reply #11 on: September 22, 2017, 10:50:24 PM
@Jedi Knight Muse -

1. I didn't know that Kelly is your actual last name.
2. I was referring to "Kaylee" and things like "K. Lee" that, when sounded out, seem like they're supposed to be "Kaylee." Ally comes off as less young than Kaylee. I'm trying to think from the perspective of someone who doesn't know you and has never heard of this book before, perhaps someone middle-aged...which name is going to pique their interest most. It may sound stereotypical, but "whatever sounds the most serious."

I was trying to not really make it obvious that it's my last name, but the conversation led to me having to reveal that little factor. :P

I'd imagine that the chances of anyone 70+ years old (except for my dad, who's only 64 but by the time I get anything in print and let him read it may be closer to 70) reading anything that I write and possibly publish are probably not super high, so I'm really not that worried about that. I'd be more worried if someone closer to my age or younger wasn't going to be able to take the name seriously, but honestly...I don't think the average reader is really going to read that far into it. Besides, as @Xanxa said, I'd think that the author's name on a book would be less important than the story itself to the average reader, and even non-average.

But, this is why discussion is good.
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True Neutral

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Reply #12 on: September 22, 2017, 11:46:03 PM
I'd imagine that the chances of anyone 70+ years old (except for my dad, who's only 64 but by the time I get anything in print and let him read it may be closer to 70) reading anything that I write and possibly publish are probably not super high, so I'm really not that worried about that.

Eesh. I said middle-aged, not elderly. Yeah...my mom's 66 now, but I was thinking of someone maybe 50-60, give or take a few years either side, because I actually know quite a few people in that age range who are really into fantasy as a genre.


Tyrannohotep

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Reply #13 on: September 23, 2017, 03:35:06 PM
How about Kay L. Reynolds? Because it's similar to how I would do my own name (Brandon S. Pilcher).
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Xanxa

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Reply #14 on: September 23, 2017, 08:45:46 PM
How about Kay L. Reynolds? Because it's similar to how I would do my own name (Brandon S. Pilcher).

I like this suggestion too, and it pays homage to Mal Reynolds! 

As for the earlier suggestion of Alana K Lee, I did a search for that name and came up with loads.  Most of them weren't authors, but the point is, it might not stand out enough. 

If you still wanted to go with Alana, you could try Alana K Reynolds, perhaps. 
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