Why Do I Need a Pseudonym?

Why Do I Need a Pseudonym?Photo license

There are many reasons writers use pseudonyms.

Some authors fear persecution for the views in their books because they live in a country run by religion or totalitarian politics.

Some don’t want their friends to know what they write or it would affect their ability to keep their day job.

Some have pseudonyms forced on them. Most romance publishers prefer their books to be authored by pseudonyms only. The same pseudonym may be used by several authors. This also happens with some famous author names. A publisher buys the rights to use the name after the author dies and then hires ghost writers.

Some feel they need one or more pseudonyms because they write in several different genres.

Some use a pseudonym because they believe the new name will sell more books than their real name.

So what about me?

Why Do I Need a Pseudonym?

When I first began writing blog articles, my real name worked fine. You didn’t search for my name. You searched for the topic or someone referred you to a post. But now I’m expecting to finish a novel in the new year and have started work on a non-fiction book. Publication could be a problem with a name like David Smith.

Amazon books shows 763 results for “David Smith” and no results for “Ivan Izo”.

Google shows 8.6 million hits for “David Smith” and 421 hits for “Ivan Izo”.

Enough said? Not quite. Now you want to know where I got the name Ivan Izo.

Why Ivan Izo?

I like books and movies.

I got the name “Ivan” from Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov”. He is the man in the middle. Alexei chooses religion. Dmitri chooses the flesh. Ivan chooses logic and philosophy. He’s branded an atheist, but clearly believes in God and the Devil since a hallucination of a devil visits him when he gets brain fever. It is religion he questions, not God. And I also find that religion often serves itself rather than God.

The name Izo is also an in between character. It comes from the Takashi Miike movie of the same name. Izo is a samurai who was executed because he was a mass murderer. Thus, he is evil and cannot go to heaven. But Izo was also obeying the lawful orders of his lord when he killed everyone in the village. Thus, he is good and cannot go to hell. He is returned to earth where he wanders eternally trying to change his fate by killing evil people. But evil can appear good and good can appear evil. He irrationally keeps finding a balance and must continue wandering.

Basically, I’ve chosen two names that suggest following the middle way. I suspect that when society gets out of its infancy and becomes ordered, it will be following some kind of middle way.

Ivan Who?

There could be a problem with the name Izo. It’s hard to remember and that can be bad for an author. On the other hand, nobody will be asking, “Which Ivan Izo do you mean?” I could keep searching for an easy pseudonym, but easy would be more common and that’s the problem I’m trying to solve. I need to stop searching.


I will be signing all of my new writing “Ivan Izo”. The old articles will still say “David Smith”. I will also have the about page updated by New Year’s with something along the lines of, “Writer on Fire is written by Ivan Izo, the pseudonym of writer David Smith”.

Article by Ivan Izo.


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