My top five reasons why you should use a pen name.
5. You're in the witness protection program, and you don't want your former "co-workers" to find you.
4. You got drunk at a writer's convention. You don't remember anything that happened, but from the You Tube videos, you know you can never face anyone in the industry again.
3. Your name is hard to spell. If you're not sure, call ten customer service agents, give them your name, and ask them how they spell it. If one or more mispell your name, use a pen name. Something simple like "John Smith". Or wait, is that spelled "Jon Smith"?
2. You hate your name. You're bored with your name. You think "Spring Fairy of the Green Knowe" is a better name than the plain name your parents gave you.
And the number one reason for using a pen name:
1. When a rejection letter comes, it's much easier to "not take it personally" if it's addressed to your pen name. "Dear Spring Fairy of the Green Knowe, you suck" hurts less than "Dear Suzi, you suck".
I am surprised that these reasons are rarely listed when people are deciding whether or not to use a pen name.
Seriously, there are lots of good reasons to use a pen name and "hard to spell correctly" is a major one. I can't tell you how many times I asked for Rosemary Edghill books at the bookstore, and they couldn't spell her name correctly, so they would tell me "no". Even though they had the latest Bast book on an endcap! (The ultimate irony, of course, is that Rosemary Edghill is the pen name of eluki bes shahar.)