Re: publishing under a pen name
I've heard positives and negatives of using a pen name. If you have a lot of acquaintances that know your real name, then they're less likely to pick up a book authored by your pen name. But I'd hope that I can sell to more people than just my acquaintances, so that's not an issue for me. A pen name gives you some level of privacy and may keep your professional life separate from your real life. But if you make it big, then people are probably going to know who you are anyway.
I chose a pen name mainly for a little privacy, but also because my real name is Randy. That's a common name in the U.S., but elsewhere, it has a different meaning. (You can look it up.) I met a guy from Australia once and said, "Hi, I'm Randy," and he looked at me very strangely. A book with the word "randy" on the cover might detract from my MG/YA audience.
My wife is Chinese and we speak Mandarin at home, so I chose a Chinese name a long time ago based on her surname and my given name. Many of my Chinese friends already know me by that name, so I transliterated that back into English to get my pen name of Lon Dee.