Pros and Cons of Using a Pen Name by Mickey J Corrigan

Pros and Cons of Using a Pen Name

I've used the pen name Mickey J. Corrigan for around ten years now. Corrigan is a family name and conveys my Irish heritage. Mickey is a gender neutral name and allows me to write first person narratives in either a male or a female voice. Usually I don't get too much grief for writing as a man, and some readers even address me as Mr. Corrigan. One critic complained that "Mr. Corrigan doesn't know anything about young women." Ha.

The reason I chose to use a pen name with my fiction (and the majority of my published poetry) is related to my job. Before writing fiction, I published a series of nonfiction books under my professional name. These were educational books, while the fiction I had begun to write would appeal to a very different audience. The contents of novels in categories such as romance, crime, and satire are nothing like the writing I used in textbooks on health and fitness. It was like two different people were writing these books. So I thought it best to separate the two voices and provide them each with a name and a persona. One would remain the professional me, the other was to be the less upstanding and often badly behaved me.

This works and it doesn't. It's great for keeping the two parts of my writing life separate, and it's very helpful, possibly essential, for keeping my job. But it's twice the effort, twice the time, and twice the pressure to meet all of the obligations without going crazy–or mixing things up in embarrassing ways. I've fired off emails signed Mickey for work done under my professional name and vice versa. Whoops!

Do think about it before you decide to label yourself with the name you always wished your parents had given you. Because if you adopt a pen name you will need an email account with that name. A website for your pen name. And of course multiple social media accounts for your pen name. I also have email, a website, and social media accounts for my job. And separate ones for me personally. This makes, for me, three times the work. I get mail at my home addressed to three different entities. You should see all the names glued to my mailbox.

Working under a pen name can make you feel distracted, split focused. And you might feel like you're spread too thin. But the benefits can outweigh the extra headaches. Once you are set up with your alternate identity, you can keep your personal life separate from your work life. And, if need be, your author persona separate from your real self. At least in the eyes of your readers.

Let me know what you think. Do you think adopting a pen name is worth the hassle? Or not?

About the Author

Mickey J Corrigan

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes tropical noir with a dark humor. Novels include Project XX about a school shooting (Salt Publishing, UK, 2017) and What I Did for Love, a spoof of Lolita (Bloodhound Books, UK, 2019).

Social media links:



Champagne Books has provided a reboot of the contemporary thriller Sugar Babies, including an update on online arrangements for sexual relationships. In light of all the attention one Florida politician is getting, the insights into the sugar life may be of interest to curious readers. Is agreeing to sex for pay (in the form of rent money, tuition payments, or travel and gifts) the same as prostitution? Or is it just what we do in economically unequal partnerships?

Three women: I broke one’s spirit, I broke another’s neck, I married the third.

This is how a mysterious narrator begins his story of three working women in their 20s living in a contemporary tropical city. He shares the intimate details about Maire, Esme, and Niki, smart girls using their bodies and their wits to pay and play their way to a better life.

Maire O’Rourke works as a girlfriend on demand for a Coconut City multimillionaire. But Maire has bigger plans: she’s about to launch an international business to help others seeking to trade sex for funding.

Southern gal Esme Grant came to Coconut City in order to find herself a rich man willing to fund her—as well as her hometown boyfriend and their Mayberry-gone-bad dreams.

Niki Stephanopoulos is a grad student and multicultural artist who struggles with guilt, poverty, and anxiety/depression fueled by her economic woes. She reaches out to Esme and Maire for help.

Niki, Esme, and Maire want what every woman wants: romance, safe shelter, a decent future. In the tropical paradise of Coconut City, one becomes lost, another faces desperate odds, while the third falls in love with the wrong man—over and over again.


Available from Amazon and Champagne Books.


  1. Interesting about pen names and the book sounds good.

    1. Thank you. Let me know what you think if you read it...

  2. great post!

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  3. Having a pen name is interesting. It adds some kind of mystery to the author. I like it.

  4. I've never used a pen name, but I find it interesting to read why other authors do.

  5. I have a pen name in mind if I ever choose to write with one but my professional career choices all involve books already so I think it only benefits me to use my real name! I can definitely see the pros of using one though.