What’s in a pen name? Should you have one?

Pen name. Is that two words or one? Is it penname? Autocorrect tells me no. There, I learnt something.


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When I started writing I knew I should have one, but what?  I know people who don’t use a pen name and publish under their real name. There’s a few of them in the MM world, and no, I won’t be telling you who they are. There’s also a few that have completely random pen names that are nothing like their real name, and no, I won’t be calling them out either.

I can only comment on myself and how I chose RJ Jones. I asked my hubs one night what he thought my new name should be. His response was what you’d expect from a straight guy. “I don’t care, as long as you have one.”  LOL. He was no help at all.

So, Jones. Why Jones? It’s very common, not so easy to find the person you’re looking for when a million other people are also called Jones. (I know, I went through that with Ancestry when I was deep into the family tree. To be a Jones sucks.)

I’m not a Jones though, but I have a HUGE family of Joneses and I’ve been told I’m definitely a Jones in my mannerisms. My mum was a Jones and she died when I was a teenager so it was inevitable that I write as Jones, a sort-of nod to Mum. I thought of writing under her full name but it’s quite old fashioned and I didn’t want people to think of me as some 80 year old woman writing about gay romance. Weird.

Then I thought about my grandfather who I never met. He was killed by a drunk driver on Christmas Day a couple of years before I was born. His surname was hyphenated Lloyd-Jones. RL Jones? R Lloyd-Jones? Nah, none of them appealed. I wanted something that rolled of the tongue easily.

The “R” is real. I’m Robyn, always have been. The “J”, well, that’s me too. Before I married, my maiden name started with J, and if you really want to you could say I am Robyn Jones. At a stretch. It’s a family name and I’m told I have all the Jones traits, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on which bits you choose to look at.

8-03-5So, should you have one? That’s not my decision to make. If you wish to keep your identity hush-hush because you may be the next JK Rowling and don’t want family knowing you’re making a squillion? Sure. If you don’t, then don’t. It’s a personal choice and one you need to be happy with.

I like to think that even the most random pen names have a special meaning to their owners. I know mine does. 🙂

I’ll be back this time next month with something else completely random.

Till then, take care and keep reading mm.



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