From NYT bestselling author and former writing professor Dave Farland:
Many authors would never consider using a pseudonym. Their identity is intimately tied to their name, and they long to see it in print, even if it’s a name as silly as Ernest Lee Funklemeyer.
For me, a name is a brand. Choosing an author’s name is more like choosing the brand name for your new line of automobiles. Sorry, I don’t really get a thrill about seeing my name in print. Maybe I did twenty-five years ago, but it really wasn’t that important to me.
I use David Farland for my writing name, but I was raised as Dave Wolverton, and wrote my first dozen novels under that name. Why did I switch? There were a couple of reasons: When I wrote my third novel, I got a glowing review which advised people to “make sure to look on the bottom shelf at your bookstore, where Dave Wolverton’s novels are likely to be found. . .” My heart sank.
You see I had read an article a few years earlier, in which marketers for Campbell’s soup had found that 92% of all people would not bend over to pick up their favorite flavor of soup from the bottom shelf at a supermarket. People prefer to buy their goods at eye level. Which meant, of course, that no writer wants to be on the bottom shelf. By using the name Wolverton, I was losing a huge number of potential sales!
. . . .
It was a gamble, but I chose a new moniker, and hit #1 on the science fiction and fantasy bestseller lists. I’ve written under the Farland name ever since.
. . . .
1) Don’t choose a name that will put your books next to another huge authors. For example, I wouldn’t want to be shelved next to books by John Grisham. Why? Because every time that he releases a new book, then the bookstore employees have to make room for it, and they will do it by removing other books from the shelf. If you happen to be close to him, the stores will be returning your novels for a refund. It will cripple your career.
. . . .
3) Don’t choose a name that is difficult or impossible to pronounce. Some foreign names are difficult for readers, so I chose one that I believed would be easy for people to say.
Link to the rest at David Farland