It has come out this week that J. K. Rowling has published The Cuckoo’s Calling as Robert Galbraith and found it ‘liberating’. Many other authors have released books under different names for various reasons. Here are a few we know about – many more remain a mystery!
Nora Roberts was a successful romance novelist who wanted to try her hand at the detective genre. Her publishers thought people would struggle with the transition, so she published her detective novels as J. D. Robb.
Ian Rankin, famously author of the Rebus detective series, apparently has books out under another name. Although he’s been cagey about his nom de plume, we know that he used to write pulpy airport thrillers to make ends meet!
Stephen King’s early novels were published under the name Richard Bachman. I have found various explanations for this, from his publishers believing that one novel a year was quite enough to King wanting to know if the success of his books was a result of talent or luck. And he would’ve got away with it, if it weren’t for a pesky bookseller who noticed a similarity in writing styles and began to investigate.
Louisa May Alcott, acclaimed writer of Little Women, funded herself by writing racy dark fiction under the pseudonym A. M. Barnard.
Other female authors avoided prejudice by initially publishing under male pseudonyms before coming out as the writers of their successful works. The Brontës were the Bells, and George Eliot came out as Mary Anne Evans after the success of her first book. Can you think of any others?
Have you got one or multiple pseudonyms? How did you choose them? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments.
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