New writers often ask whether or not they should use a pen name. I knew I wanted one pretty much the moment I decided to try becoming a published author. For one, my "real" last name is long, a bit of a bear for people to pronounce, and the first letter occurs rather late in the alphabet.
Why is that important? You see, back when the concept of ebooks was barely arriving on the scene, I figured my destiny would be to sell in brick and mortar bookstores. Since fiction titles are arranged on shelves alphabetically by author last name, I didn't want to be "all the way down" the row. Nor did I want to be right in front, because as I was told, when people browse fiction, they tend to walk into the center of a row and start there first. So my ideal pen name would fall in the middle of the alphabet.
The pen name I chose, for those who don't know, is Lisa Logan. Lisa is actually my legal first name, although it is not what I use in everyday life. "Logan" is the nickname my husband was called at the time (as in Wolverine from the X-Men comics). Clever, I thought, and kind of rolls nicely off the tongue, don't you think?
Now fast forward several years. I had decided to try my hand at a new genre: the spicier stuff. You know, 50 shades of not-your-grandma's romance. Once again, I needed to decide on a pen name. For my first name, I opted for "Jade," the nickname *I* had been called for years at that point. (Based on a SciFi EU character.) But the initial J. seemed much more chic and authorly, so I went with that. "Rose" is my youngest daughter's middle name, as well as a family name on my husband's side.
That left the last name, and I couldn't think of one. I no longer had to worry about bookstore placement, as my work was all digital. My publisher's site listed their authors prominently in the sidebar alphabetically, A's up top. I mentioned this to my husband as he walked through the room, and he came up with "Allister" off the top of his head. It's a play on the term "A-lister." Which he said he hoped I'd be with the new name. A nice sentiment, I thought! And it must have been a good omen, since my first release as J. Rose was also my first bestseller.
The reason I decided to write about my old pen name today is that I've been thinking a lot about Lisa Logan lately. She sadly slid by the wayside while J. Rose went hog wild with three series and quite a few single titles. I've had some ideas for Lisa books, though, and I think a relaunch is in her not-too-distant future.
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I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over thirty books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!