Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

As I type this, I have three author voices — the children’s book voice ( Barbara Ann Burgess), the blog and article writing voice (Barbara Burgess), and the romance voice ( Lily Dae). Come July, I will have another author voice to add to the clubhouse of writers that inhabit my mind: B.A. Burgess, scifi and miscellaneous fiction writings.

Author Voices vs Pen Names

I get a little bent when people call my author voices pen names. I’ve called them pen names in the past which makes me aggravated at myself, but I did it to keep things from getting complicated.

If ever there was a place to get complicated and wax philosophical about something as meaningless as a pen name, it’s on a blog. So, here’s the conversation I try to avoid having with people concerning my author voices and why they aren’t pen names.

Unwitting Person (UP): Why do you write under a pen name?

Me: I don’t.

UP: Yes, you do. That romance book. You wrote that under a pen name.

Me: It’s a voice.

UP: A voice?

Me: Yeah. An author. One of the many that live in my head.

UP: You hear voices, homey?

Me: No, but different stories require different writing styles and a different “mojo” if you will. So, I let different writing voices write different books.

UP: So, you basically get possessed and write all this shit?

Me: No, Jason. Listen very closely — Pen names are meant to hide the identity of the author. I don’t care if people know I wrote any of this stuff, but I need to keep all of the different genres separated by tone. The easiest way to do that is to organize them by voice. Giving each voice a name makes it easier for people to find the work they want to read, and it makes it easy for me to slip in and out of genres without getting writer’s fatigue. Does that make more sense?

UP: I don’t care anymore.

Me: I don’t either, man. I don’t either.

End of Song.

Originally published at on April 3, 2020.

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