So those in Aus will know that Big Brother is back on. They promised it would be all shiny and new…Its not even close. The same old thing. In fact many shows on at the moment are just re-hashed old programs. The audience is smart, yes we noticed.
Anyway, it got me to thinking about how authors write under different names. One name may soar whilst another struggles to take off. This strikes me as odd because after all its the same person writing them so they should be the same quality and style? Right? I know most authors use a pen name. Some so that it doesn’t affect their other lives. Some because they write in multiple genres and don’t want fans getting confused. Romance writer Nora Roberts writes erotic thrillers under the pen name J.D. Robb. Stephen King published four novels under the name Richard Bachman because publishers didn’t feel the public would buy more than one novel per year from a single author.Eventually, after critics found a large number of style similarities, publishers revealed Bachman’s true identity.
C. S. Lewis used two different pseudonyms for different reasons. He published a collection of poems (Spirits in Bondage) and a narrative poem (Dymer) under the pen name “Clive Hamilton”, to avoid harming his reputation as a don at Oxford University. His book entitled A Grief Observed, which describes his experience of bereavement, was originally released under the pseudonym “N. W. Clerk”.
So why do we do this? Surely the audience will work it out. You will most likely need to appear in public for both names at some point and be recognised. Or should you use a ghost authors for the job. You know, have a body double. I have heard of authors having their books signed, at their own release parties, by their own body double posing as them. Lol I think its liberating as well as a lot of work. JK Rowling is about to release her first adult book after writing the YA Harry Potter series. I believe this was because her name is associated with her fame so the book is assured great sales. I on the other hand also write in two genres. YA and Erotic. I am using a different name for each because i dont want children picking up an erotic and thinking its the same as my YA. I have no issue with them reading either genre but i think they should be aware that they are two separate things. Some authors can make it work. Lynsay Sands writes Contemporary Vampire novels and also writes Historicals. She uses the same name for both so that she only has to develop one brand.
So should you tell your audience you are both people? The author of a book i read recently acknowledged her alter ego in her Authors bio at the back of the book. She writes under two names and freely admitted to each. Then we come to the most widely used alter egos those of super heros 😛
Do you think you could read a book and know the author is using a pen name? If JK Rowling actually wrote under a different name do you think you would be able to recognise her writing?