Why Use a Pen Name?

Some of you may be wondering who or what “Jax Jillian” is.  Well, I have thought long and hard about whether or not I want to write under a pen name.  In fact I still contemplate it.  It has nothing to do with not liking my given name, or married name for that matter, but more to do with privacy and marketing.  I have done hours of research on pen names and although it was much more popular in the past, especially with female authors using male “pen names” because unfortunately, back in the day not many people purchased books written by women, you will still find some present-day authors using a pen name.  J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series), V.C. Andrews (Flowers In The Attic), Nora Roberts, a bestselling author of romance novels has written under the pen name of J.D. Robb for her In Death series and has also written under the name of Jill March, and even Stephen King has written under a different name when writing outside of his typical genre.  But for me, it is more to do with ease and recognition of a name as well as privacy.

Although my first name is quite easy to spell and pronounce, the same can’t be said for my last name.  I don’t know how many times I see it misspelled, even on important documents, or how many times I have had to correct people on how to pronounce it.  If I am lucky enough to be successful in this industry, I need a name that people will remember.  More importantly, I have decided to go with a pen name for privacy reasons, not just for me, but for my family as well.

Even though who I am does not change when I sit down and start typing feverishly on my keyboard, I consider my “writing-life” to be separate from my “real-life”.   After all, how many of you who know me really well ever knew I wanted to write?  Probably none of you.  It has not been something that I have shared.  I have kept it separate, more so because I never even knew if I could be a successful writer.   I was…or…I am…afraid of failure.  And as I, Jill Landgrebe, struggle with these fears, my inner “Jax Jillian” extinguishes those fears and allows me to be brave.

Who knows, I may end up changing the name if forced to by my publisher.  Publishers know best and if they think another name may be more successful, then so be it.  Stay tuned!

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