What’s in a pen name?

The following is a cross-post from my WordPress blog:

I’ve recently been asked if C.K. Brooke is my real name, and/or why I use my initials instead of my first name (Caity). Answers: Yes and no; and because of J.K. Rowling, duh!

Haha – just kidding.

‘C.K.’ are the initials of my first and last (married, not maiden) name. Not the result of a fondness for Calvin Klein (although I do love their perfume). And Brooke is my middle name (yes, after Brooke Shields). As you can see above, my first name has an unusual spelling that is not intuitive. As for my married surname, it is a 10-letter Polish name with ‘c’s and ‘z’s and ‘w’s and no one can say it, let alone spell it. So, ‘C.K. Brooke’ is a variation of my real name, and I use it not for privacy/secrecy reasons, but for plain old marketability. After all, it would be that much harder to promote a book if people struggled with pronouncing, writing and remembering the author’s name.

At first, I wondered if I would regret not seeing my ‘real’ name printed on the cover of my books. But over the last several months, I’ve gotten so used to embracing C.K. Brooke as my professional identity, I don’t think twice about it anymore. I think it would be harder if I chose a fictitious name entirely, but because my pen name still includes elements of my given name, it’s still ‘me’ enough.

In addition, no one else had it. 🙂

Do you use your pen name or your real, legal name? What reasons do you have for doing so, either way? If you use a pen name, how did you create it? Have you tried both – and which do you prefer?

Revisiting old work

March 16, 2015

Without Curtains Cover Reveal!

March 16, 2015

4 Thoughts on What’s in a pen name?

  1. I chose my pen name because Batman was taken. My pseudonym is an homage to both R.L. Stine and Stephen King, and also my grandfather went by the same initials. Also, I have never really liked my real name.

  2. I don’t use a pen name mostly due to WAY too much name pride. 🙂 However if I could take Nightwing, RL and I could be a great team. (No way, I’d be Robin) More than once I have been given advice about whether I should cater to guys with a pen name.

    As for letters, I have 9 letters in my given name and 9 letters in my surname. It’s nice that they stack so well when needed (such as on my book spine)

  3. Batman – er, R.L. – I love that you combined names of your favorite authors, I didn’t even catch that! It’s cool that you also have that family connection with your grandfather’s initials. I, too, have never been too fond of my given name.

    Nightwing – hehe, Elizabeth – is Guizzetti your maiden surname, I’m guessing? Italiano heritage? 🙂 I like all the ‘z’s in your name.

  4. I thought a lot about whether or not to use a pen name. I finally settled on just adding a middle initial. I actually don’t have a middle name, but my maiden name starts with an “M.” 🙂


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