"Why can't I have a great name like John Grisham or J. K. Rowling? Oh, hell, a name like Joe Montana or Tiger Woods or Clint Eastwood has got to be the key to success!"
I'm not quoting any such individual with this statement, but I've heard it plenty of times: if only I had a great name, I'd be successful.
Or, you may have heard the story about the writer who writes in one genre and when it comes time for him/her to publish in another genre, the publisher asks them for a pseudonym--AKA a pen name.
Next week, I'll debate the pros and cons to pseudonyms. At one time, I even had a pseudonym that I wrote under, and an agent called it "contrived." After much internal debate, I decided to just write under my own name, with middle initials included.
Need an example of someone who writes in multiple genres under his own name? Check out Dan Simmons. He writes in fantasy, non-fiction, noir crime, science fiction, horror, etc.