Dear Ms. Moss:

I am trying to break into becoming a new writer. My editor has asked me to start thinking of a pen name for myself. I told her that I wanted my name to be Tim Brian (which is part of my name, first and middle) she doesn’t think that would fly too well in the book industry. Said the name Tim Brian is a little shaky, like you can tell its made up and stuff.

So my question is what do you think I should do for a pen name or any suggestions.

The story is a western and thought my pen name should be western-like. That is why I was thinking of Tim Brian as the name on my western story, think anyone would buy a book by that name? I hope you can help me.


Timothy England

Dear Tim,

I agree with your editor.  When I see a celebrity or writer with two first names, I just assume it’s his first and middle name. It’s a little trite, nowadays. 

I actually like your original name, Tim England – it’s memorable. Do you know why your editor suggested a pen name?  Or do you not want your writing to be associated with your public life? As an author, I also toyed with the idea of a pen name, but then realized that I wanted everyone to know that I actually did accomplish the feat of publishing a novel! I wanted it under my own name. Even JK Rowling can’t keep it a secret when she writes under different aliases.

But if you are set on having a different name, I would suggest a variation on your first and middle names, like Tim Bryant. But that is not very memorable, either. How about taking a name that evokes the Old West, such as:
Butch Bryant
Bodie Bryant
Tim Brocious
Tim Slaughter
Brian Earp

Check with your editor and see if this is what he/she was going for.Hope that helps!

Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.