Posted by Kimberly S. Belle
And now, I’ll be joining them. Because as I move into the next step of my writing journey, I will be morphing into Kimberly S. Belle, Author.
Taking on a pen name is not a decision I made lightly. I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of gal, so at first, the idea of writing under a name that wasn’t “mine” felt phony. How would I introduce myself at writing conferences? What would my friends and family think? But when I sat down to think through the pros and cons, the answer became obvious. Here are my biggest reasons:
- Spelling and pronunciation. As a writer, I want to make it as easy as possible for readers to remember me, and to find and buy my books. I’ve lived with Kimberle Swaak long enough to know both are uncommon, and even worse, could be a barrier to readers finding me on Google and Amazon.
- Market and genre. Writing is a business, and my name should reflect my brand. I write women’s fiction with heart and humor, but the subjects tend to be serious. Kimberle feels light and fluffy, Kimberly not so much. And though Swaak is certainly unique, it’s too much of a distraction. Ditto for my maiden name, Maleski. Neither of them scream women’s fiction. When it comes to readers, I’d rather conversations center on the types of stories I write, not the complexities of my name.
- Staying “me.” I wanted to choose a name that felt natural, and that meant something to me personally. Changing Kimberle to Kimberly was a no-brainer. The initial S is a not-so-subtle reference to Swaak. And Belle is one of my daughter’s nicknames–and bonus! I get the E from Kimberle back. Et voila, Kimberly S. Belle. C’est moi.
It may take me a bit to change everything over on my website and social media, and I’m still figuring out how, exactly, I’ll merge my two identities. Will I develop a split personality? Will I accidentally introduce myself as Kimberly Belle at parties? Will I ever learn to type Kimberly with a Y? These are all questions I’ve yet to answer.
But I can tell you this: you won’t have to look very hard to find Kimberle Swaak pulling the levers behind Kimberly S. Belle’s curtain. I have no desire for my writing to remain anonymous, and I have nothing to hide. And when my books hit the shelves, Kimberle Swaak will be holding them up and screaming, “I WROTE THIS, Y’ALL!”