“When writing under a pseudonym, should I put my REAL name on the copyright page of my book?”

“When writing under a pseudonym, should I put my REAL name on the copyright page of my book?”

Q –

Hi Angela,

I am about to publish my memoirs. There is some content in the book that some friends and family members may not want to see about themselves in print. I don’t want to upset anyone so I wrote the book under a pseudonym.

But, I think I need to register the copyright under my real name, right? And then, don’t I need to put my real name on the copyright page?

All of this is very confusing. Please help.


A –

If you feel you may receive personal and potentially even legal reprisals from friends and family members over the content of your memoirs, you should definitely NOT put your real name in or on the book, nor on any copyright documentation. I think we all know how well (ahem) the federal government does when protecting our identities and personal information.

Another thing to consider is that the Library of Congress will also ask for your address. So, if something goes awry in the government database (which is a question of when, not if), someone searching for your pseudonym could find your home or mailing address, put two and two together, and figure out who really wrote your book.

For authors writing under a pseudonym, WritersWeekly’s Copyright Registration Service ($99) submits all the relevant information to the Library of Congress under the author’s pseudonym, including a copy of the book, but we use OUR address. When the copyright certificate arrives here, we then mail it to the author. This way, the author’s address is never in the government database associated with that book. Other authors can request we do this for them as well, including those who are writing under their real name on a controversial topic but who don’t want their address in the government databases in case a loony reader threatens them.

For authors not using a pseudonym, and who don’t mind their address being in the database, we use their address and the copyright certificate is sent directly from the Library of Congress to them.

All authors, of course, retain all rights to their books.



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