How to use an alias or pseudonym

Written by mark fitzpatrick
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How to use an alias or pseudonym
Writers often use pseudonyms to write across literary genres. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

An alias, or pseudonym, is a fictitious name someone uses to cover up their true identity. Many aliases or pseudonyms are used by writers who do not want their actual names published on a book. Other times it could be for individuals, such as spies or criminals, who want to evade being caught by enemies Whatever the reason, aliases and pseudonyms serve a number of practical functions for several people.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Consider why you are using the alias or pseudonym. Why the alias or pseudonym is being used is important. One reason is because the level of change needed for an alias or pseudonym might require a complete name change, which needs to take a legal course. Another reason is not to misinform the public. Using a fake name to misrepresent facts is against the law, but using a fake name to write a fiction book is acceptable.

  2. 2

    Search on the Internet for names to use as your alias or pseudonym. There is some difficulty to this step in general. You shouldn't use a name that's too common. A specific name may directly link you to that person. A common name, especially for writers, may not spark interest in the writer and the book or article.

  3. 3

    Inform friends and family about the new name. If you are just casually using an alias or a pseudonym, you should inform friends and family so they can begin calling you this name. Any future individual you may casually meet should be given this alias instead of your real name.

  4. 4

    Tell your employer, especially if you are a writer, about your alias or pseudonym. This will allow the publishing house, newspaper, magazine, or blog know it is you writing the material, but the public will know your work by another name. Although this step may mostly be for writers, you can have your employer know you want to be referred by a different name at work by informing the human resources department.

  5. 5

    Choose what aspect of your life should have the name change. A person can have anything addressed to them as their alias or pseudonym, as long as the person verifies who they are and what the name is. For example, if you want your driver's license to reflect this name, you will have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles with your Social Security or birth certificate to verify you are who you say you are and what you want your license to say.

  6. 6

    Contact Social Security and Department of Records if you wish to implement a complete name change. A name change might be preferred if you wish your alias or pseudonym to cover up the entirety of your life. By changing your name through these institutions, all previous aspects of your life, like your Social Security records, debts, and birth certificate, will be transferred over into the new identity.

  7. 7

    Consult your lawyer if there is any perceived issue with these aliases or pseudonyms. Your lawyer will be up to date with federal, state, and local laws concerning name changes. Also, your lawyer will be able to manage all of your aliases or pseudonyms and all related properties related to those names confidentially.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid confusing institutions and friends. Having multiple aliases control multiple aspects of your life will make it difficult to follow your life. If your bank is in one alias, but your driver's license says another name, it will be difficult for friends, family, or claimants to your estate know what belonged to you. It may also be confusing throughout your life if you have your alias applied to some aspects of your life more than others.
  • You cannot use an alias or a pseudonym to escape debts or crimes. Debts and crimes will follow the person through their Social Security number. Changing your Social Security number or the name associated with the Social Security number without prior approval or authorisation by the Social Security Administration is a federal offence.

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