During my last long round of fighting the sick, I did a little catching up on my hobby – gaming forums. I love wandering around and seeing what new is out for my favorite games and like 99% of the forumites I use a completely fictitious profile name, two actually (well a lot more than that if we count all of my aliases). Recently an artist has arrived in the community using their real name and wondering, especially when it pertains to things like (but not exactly the same as) copyright and credit, why people don’t use their real names in their online life.
Now this is something every independent artist should really consider. Not exactly in that context of course, for things like a public forum it’s usually for the best to most emphatically not use your actual name. However one definitely needs to consider one’s options when beginning an independent career online.
There’s no hard and fast, best practice rules for whether and indie artist uses their real name or a (really cool) pseudonym. Right now, in the fledgling days of ebook publishing I suspect a lot of authors are using their real names because they desperately want ‘to take the credit’ online and offline for their work. For a lot of authors having a book published in any form is such a dream come true that the concept of using a pseudonym with their first published books is not even worth thinking about. Of course, if your work sucks really really badly there is the possibility that the stigma from it could follow you offline – which is a good reason to use a pen name if you’re unsure about your works reception. Or maybe you’ve just always really hated your real name, that’s as good a reason as any to use another.
On the down side using your real name on the internet in any form – can be dangerous. As a hobbyist on these gaming forums I’ve seen people really savaged by trolls online. So do think carefully about your options before you make a decision because it’s a big one that will mark your career from start to finish.
Still, I’m sure you’ve heard it said before – I’m just happy to have my name out there.