Pen names

May 28, 2019
Being wondering about the reasons why people use pen names and whether they are helpful or not. A Friday thought.

Part of the cause for pondering about them is that someone suggested I might want to use one either for my Christian discipleship resources books or for my novels. The issue, they thought, was that while my resources would not raise any eyebrows and was in keeping with my ministry the novels were not. To be fair, most of the novels would not get passed the Evangelical Alliance criteria and I suspect some christen publishers/agents would pass on them despite the fact that I am very careful not to go against the bible' teachings but do tackle some of the more controversial issues. The other point raised was the those who might like the resources books could be put off buying them if they read the novels.

Personally I would rather stick with my name on all my writing but most of what has got published so far has been Christian not secular.
So I would be interested to know if anyone does use a pen name and, if you are willing to share, why?
Oct 2, 2022
I do not use a pen name, but I've read many authors who do. I think it is great idea to put a separate name on your ministry books, or on your novels. I guess it might be kind of deceitful too though. I mean, if someone doesn't want to read something by an author anymore, but then they go and read a ministry book not knowing it is really by you or vice versa, they are kind of being tricked. I guess that'd be up to your conscience though. I look forward to seeing how others respond.


Staff member
Feb 21, 2007
Actually, I think that person has a valid point, Shamrock. I have two thoughts on this.

1) If your books would not/will not pass the hierarchy now with your name on them, will this get you into any kind of trouble because they would not pass the Alliance's criteria? Could you be disciplined in some way? On the other han, if you use a pen name for your novels, would you want them to find out? Would you need to tell them upfront? There's the tricky part.

2) I agree with the one who mentioned this to you. I don't think it's a good idea to use your real name on your novels if you're writing ministry resources, even though you're not writing against the Bible's teachings. However, since you are writing Christian novels, I'm not sure.

I think the best option, and the one that will answer this question, is to go to the Alliance and ask them. If you don't, I think you're only backdooring it. I think you may not feel comfortable or at peace about this unless you get the clearance from them.


Taco or Pickle. Pick one.
Jul 25, 2020
Yes, I use a pen name! Anything that I've ever announced on here with my "name" is actually my pen name. I have it due to parental concerns, most likely. :)
May 29, 2018
I use a pen name online. Hubby and son were concerned about my (their) safety.
When I published a book, I chose to use my name.
I have tried to have two different web sites. One with my pen name and the other with my real name.
It was pointed out by an author that people might not be able to find me if I used both pen name and real naIn reference to me.

My blog was started in the 2008- 2010 period. I used a pseudonym on a short- lived one. When I went to a blog that is still active, I chose to use the name Quiet Spirit. But some of my followers know me by my real name.

I met a woman who lives a few miles west of me. We had a meeting at a restaurant after she got off work. She wrote erotica books. She used a pen name. She also did not tell anyone with whom she worked that she wrote. She worked with a lot of men and decided she didn't want to cause issues with their families, especially their wives.

In reference to your question: I agree with Lynn. You might want to approach your church counsel and ask them their thoughts on this.
Nov 15, 2022
I have been planning on using a pen name for years. But, my reason is a little different, I believe. My real name is John McKissack, and I was taught to pronounce my last name with a short “i.” A few years ago I discovered while researching the origins of my name I should pronounce it with a long “I.” The origin was Scottish highland and it meant “son of Isaac.” So, I did some internet researching to come up with a name spelling that is not too common (so it will be mine.) I changed the spelling to make a pen name that will cause people to pronounce it with a long “I.”

The name choice and spelling were all intending to be used to help build a unique platform around it. I now have an email with the “name”, I have a twitter account with it, YouTube, Facebook and the dot com domain. I have not actively built my platform yet, but I am methodically setting everything in place. I created the avatar image I am using here over a year ago to build my future platform. It is a picture of me, but I wear wire-frame glasses and I have since lost the mustache and goatee. My hair is not gray either. Please don’t ask me why it is not gray anymore, but light brown…

I had a platform of sorts in the past. I was Johnny Max and my wife was the Queen. We were “Johnny Max & the Queen.” If you search for it you may find something, buy I have tried to scrub it off the internet. I produced a podcast starting back in 2005. That was back when they were also called net-cast and web-cast. The podcast was called “BrewCrAzY” and it was about home brewing gold medal beer. They even listed me as one of the top beer podcasts in Draft Magazine way back then. I was ahead of the craft beer/homebrew craze. I was a big part in promoting it. Then around 2008 I think it was, I started the Podcast “The Self-Sufficient Homestead.” We were still “Johnny Max & the Queen” and once again we were ahead of the curve and we helped influence the whole prepper craze. Nobody talked about preppers back then. We had over 30,000 downloads from around the world as soon as we uploaded a show. This was way back when you had to listen to podcast on your computer, an MP3 player or an iPod. You could not stream it with your phone back then. So, to have that kind of following was really something. Every year, they invited us to the Great American Beer festival. We went to all the awards and banquets free. So, it is worth putting thought and planning into building a platform.

The reason I choose to use a pen name is to make it easier to build a platform around it. I can isolate it from my true identity for a while if I choose because I am a pastor. I do believe they will forgive me as it is a form of my name.

So much for a quick post! :oops:
Aug 10, 2013
I presume you are not a Methodist pastor, as the last I knew, they frowned on alcohol consumption. But that was 20 years ago.
Nov 15, 2022
I presume you are not a Methodist pastor, as the last I knew, they frowned on alcohol consumption. But that was 20 years ago.
LOL, I have had beer and wine with other pastors on occasion.
From the UMC Book of Discipline:
We affirm our long-standing support of abstinence from alcohol as a faithful witness to God’s liberating and redeeming love for persons...
With regard to those who choose to consume alcoholic beverages, judicious use with deliberate and intentional restraint, with Scripture as a guide. ;)
Nov 15, 2022
18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’;19the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’

Probably not this scripture.
So I have to be friends with the IRS! :oops:
Lol, sorry, getting off topic. The point I was making was that I chose a Pen Name with the idea of building a platform with writing in mind actually. I padded it with distracting words I guess...
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