Freelance Writers: Could You Be Hurting Your Career by Using/Not Using a Pen Name? How to Determine When and When Not To

Last week, I received the following email from a fellow freelance writer about pen names. She wrote:


Hi there Yuwanda,

Did you use a pen name early in your writing career, or is Yuwanda Black your real name? I write for Helium, Brighthub etc under a pen name. These sites actually have a spot where you can actually put it in. But I wonder as I move forward with my writing career whether it’s ok to keep using the pen name, or will I look unprofessional, or does it not matter as long as I’m upfront with the client.

thanks for sharing


I fired off a short answer, as I didn’t have time to get into detail, and I wanted to save my longer response for this week’s newsletter. The short answer I gave was . . . read the rest of this post.

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  1. L-

    Glad you found the post informative.

    As for my name, I actually LOVE my surname of Black; it’s my first name that I’m not wild about. But, as there aren’t may “Yuwandas” running around and my mom gave it to me, I’ve learned to appreciate it.

  2. Thanks for posting this Yuwanda. Incidentally, I was born with the surname ‘Black’. And like you, I’m not fond of my name either. So for that reason and all the other reasons Scott Lorenz mentioned, I think I’ll be using a pen name. Well, we’ll see…