One and the Same, What’s in a Name?

Although the title of this blog would lead you to believe otherwise, my name is not Ann Benjamin.  It’s Courtney Brandt.  As I may have have alluded to in an earlier post, Ann Benjamin is my nom de plume, a pen name I have chosen specifically to differentiate myself from other works I’ve published.  I am not the first author to do this (see, Stephen King/Richard Bachman, Michael Crichton/John Lange/Jeffrey Hudson, Meg Cabot/Jenny Carroll, and Anne Rice, just to name a few), nor will I be the last.  I’m not sure what motivated others to pick up another name, but I’m happy to share my reasons.  With five YA novels published as Courtney Brandt, I’m happy with the results which have come through those efforts.  However, I know my writing has come a long way since these novels were published.  To me, differentiating myself and my voice as a writer for an adult audience is an important distinction I want to make with my career.  Starting as Ann Benjamin is a virtual clean slate to do and write and publish however I want.  The lessons I learn (and continue to learn) under my actual name are all good ones.  I’ll take the best of them and apply them to Ann’s world.  Furthermore, I wouldn’t be above picking out another name for the children’s book I have in mind – but that’s a whole other topic.

So, what about the readers I already have?  Wouldn’t it make sense to start with some readers rather than none?  I love them – they are great!  However, the reader that enjoys my band geek books is probably not going to be the same person who will buy a unique book about a hotel or a historical thriller.  While my original audience has given me confidence, there are just not enough of them to make me a household name in another genre.

Where did the name come from?  Funny story – it’s my middle name and my husband’s middle name I’ll let you guess which is which and I think it’s a perfect fake name.  Variations of my name, C.A. Brandt or C. A. Wright (if I used my husband’s last name) just don’t have the same ring.

Where do I want to go with the name?  As I’ve mentioned previously, I like to think big.  And one day when I officially ‘make it’ I’d like to keep some of my privacy.  If I published under my real name, I think some of that privacy would be compromised.  This post will mostly likely be buried deep within this blog by that time, so no worries that I’ve already revealed my true identity.

How about you?  Do you publish under your actual name?  Do you have different names for different genres?  Are there any pros or cons I’m missing?

What are your thoughts?

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