Google Says I’m Dead & Other Reasons Why I’m Using A Pen Name

When I Google my name, it says that Jennifer Lyon was a contestant on the reality show Survivor: Palau. Sadly, she died of cancer in 2010.

When I Google my name, it also says that Jennifer Lyon is a paranormal romance author.

When I Google my name, I find more people named Jennifer Lyon who are not me.

After finding all these folks named Jennifer Lyon, it became obvious that if I wanted to write and market my books, I needed to use a pen name. To complicate matters, back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I wrote an Internet figure skating serial called The Strong & The Sequined and published it as Jennifer Lyon. No, it didn’t make me rich or famous. But the next book I plan to publish is based on The Strong & The Sequined. I want those readers to be able to find me, so a totally made-up pen name won’t work. Besides, with all the characters I’ve had to name over the years, I don’t need the added burden of inventing a brand new name for myself.

My first instinct was to use my initials. After all, it worked for J.D. Salinger and J.K. Rowling. But when I Googled J.L. Lyon, I found another writer who is already using that name. Jen Lyon won’t work, either; the Jennifer Lyon from Survivor was called Jenn. Under Jenny Lyon, I found a blogger/writer/proofreader and an artist, among others.

Since there are so darn many of us, I decided I might as well go with a plural. Welcome to the world, Jens Lyon. About a year ago, I started a Twitter account using that name, and this is what comes up first when I Google “Jens Lyon” and “Jens Lyon writer.” Problem solved!

By the way, if you know me, you don’t have to start calling me Jens. It’s a pen name, not my real name.

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