It's true that George Eliot and Charlotte Bronte used male pen names so that their work would be taken seriously (and so they could publish at all). But as I learned while researching my new book, "Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms," the motives behind this tradition are often more complicated and mysterious than you might imagine. I learned that pen names are not merely functional--they are often bound up in profound ways with a writer's creativity and identity, not to mention issues of guilt and shame. There are more than a few good reasons (and sometimes many at once) to adopt a nom de plume.
9 Reasons To Use A Pen Name