Choosing a pseudonym

Leigh Turner
Leigh Turner

Choosing a pseudonym is a bit of an art.

In 2014, I started writing under a pen-name.  How did I choose the pseudonym Robert Pimm?

How to choose a pseudonym

Before deciding on a name, I consulted guides on how to choosing your pseudonym.  They said:

(i) don’t pick anything too daft.  People may address you by this name, eg at readings or in interviews.  So that ruled out “Fluke Xenophon Chapman”, a juicy character in my unpublished novel “Holiday Period“, a prequel to “Corona Crime“;

(ii) a first name that is familiar to you may be helpful.  So “Robert”, which is actually my first name (I am Robert Leigh Turner, known as Leigh) made sense;

(iii) something in the middle of the alphabet may help shift books in bookshops, because people tend to go to the middle of the shelf (sounds a bit quaint, but plausible);

(iv) in choosing a surname, it’s good to have something with family heritage, or perhaps a geographical link.  So from my home in Pimlico, London, came “Pimm”.

Steps to a new pseudonym

Back in 2014 changing my name meant a vast amount of work.  It included:

– inserting the name of the author Robert Pimm into the title pages of all my books, including the only ones I had published at the time, “Hotel Stories” – together with the author information inside.  The latter in particular, reassigning authorship from my real identity to a new person, was a strange sensation;IMG_3170

In 2014 in Dubai

–  changing my name on the Amazon “author’s page” at “Author Central”.  It’s easy enough to edit your biographical information, but to change the name of the author’s page itself you have to send an e-mail to Amazon and ask them to do it;

– updating my Facebook page and rebranding it with the same cover photo as this blog.  My FB page had long been in the name of Fluke Chapman (see above).  But in order to bring the various streams of social media together I changed it to Robert Pimm;

– buying myself the domain name of robertpimm.com and changing my “primary domain” for this site so that users now see “robertpimm.com” when visiting the blog.  That cost $18.00 a year.

Choosing a pseudonym: how did it go?

The whole experience of giving Robert Pimm a more tangible existence had both thrilling and unsettling elements.  What would Robert Pimm be like?  Would my copyright position be affected?  What if there was some other unforeseen downside?  What about people who were buying my books because they knew me or my other writing as Leigh Turner?

The answers to these questions was not straightforward.  Having retired in 2021, I decided to change my name back to Leigh Turner – another massive changeover and not good for my SEO scores! But I may keep Robert Pimm in some shape or form.  Thoughts welcome!

If you would like to have a look at my writing under both names, please check out my latest books here.

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