A writer can have a legitimate reason to use a pen name, AKA a pseudonym or nom de plume. (Reducing personal income tax is not one of them.) But when the real name of a writer can interfere with recognition of the writings themselves—that is when a pen name can be used.
I have used “Nathaniel Coleman” for years, in particular with the posts on this blog. I did so, not to avoid embarrassment or to avoid undermining my reputation in my profession or work: My work has been writing about reports of dinosaurs and pterosaurs that appear to be still alive, especially about eyewitness accounts of apparent pterosaurs. By around the end of 2005, my real name, Jonathan David Whitcomb, had been maligned by a few, fortunately only a very few, severe critics who were more concerned about steering readers away from the possibility of modern pterosaurs than about allowing a fair examination of the possibility. I felt it best to use “Nathaniel Coleman” and “Norman Huntington” to teach the truth about eyewitness encounters, without the distraction of the maligned name of Jonathan Whitcomb.
On July 14, 2014, after years of using “Nathaniel Coleman,” I gave it some thought. By that time, I had written three different nonfiction books on modern pterosaurs, with the most recent being the biggest, the most detailed book, by far: Searching for Ropens and Finding God (third edition). The other two are the paperback Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition) and Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea (Kindle digital book). All of my books have all been published under my real name. The problem in mid-2014 appeared to be the threat of apathy and the popularity of fictional dragons and fictional dinosaurs and pterosaurs, not my own personal reputation. People need to wake up to the reality of what sometimes flies over our heads at night, IN THE REAL WORLD.
Why did a few writers speak negatively about me? It’s not worth getting into now, except to say it was at least partly because some skeptics were so unprepared for the possibility of modern pterosaurs that they decided to attack the qualifications of the investigators. Enough said about that bulverism.