June 26, 2012
by Madison James
Only now within the last couple years working on the business side of the romance book industry have I discovered that some romance authors are frauds. Yes the gig is up, they use multiple pen names. Why would they do that, you say? Why to confuse us, of course. No, although it might seem so sometimes. It is actually extremely common, but most readers don’t know of it and the reasons. The reasons are numerous, but the most common is because the author wants to write more books than their publisher can market and to avoid the legalities of the original contract, it’s easier to write under a second name when you move to a different publisher.
A second reason is that big book buyers have a habit of purchasing only the same number of books that an author sold on their last release. If it was a bad release, then the store will only by that many books of the next release, but if it’s an unknown author, the stores will buy more in the hope that it will be a blockbuster. So you write under a different name, they get a better shot at selling through their books.
A third reason an author might take a pen name is because they are writing for a different audience. Going from contemporary to YA mature isn’t a big jump, but if the writing style changed dramatically, a pen name might prevent readers who didn’t like the switch from jumping ship from the very author that they loved. Another reason might be that an author might take a pen name because they value the anonymity that a pen named brings. Depending on what they write their reputation might be at stake.
NYT bestselling author Nora Roberts also writes under J. D. Robb. According to her website a pseudonym offered her the opportunity to reach a new and different group of readers. The first suspense J. D. Robb book was published in paperback in 1995, and readers were immediately drawn in. While fans had their suspicions, it wasn’t until the twelfth book in the series, (2001), that the publisher fully revealed that J. D. Robb was a pseudonym for bestselling author Nora Roberts.
Jayne Ann Krentz has a whopping seven pseudonyms. Her contemporaries she uses Jayne Ann Krentz, she publishes historicals under Amanda Quick. She is also published under the names Jayne Bentley, Jayne Castle, Jayne Taylor, Amanda Glass, and Stephanie James.
Here are some other examples of some well-known authors and their pseudonyms:
- Sandra Brown wrote under the names Erin St. Clair and Rachel Ryan, and Laura Jordan.
- Diana Palmer published under Diana Blayne, Kate Curry and Susan Kyle.
- Barbara Delinsky scribbled under Billie Douglass and Bonnie Drake.
- Bestseller Janet Evanovich also publishes under Steffie Hall.
- Victoria Holt also writes under the names Phillipa Carr and Jean Plaidy.
- Harlequin author Marie Ferrarella also uses Marie Charles, Marie Michael and Marie Nicole.
- Meg Cabot of Princess Dairies’s fame also scribes under Meggin Cabot, Patricia Cabot and Jenny Carroll.
If you have any other authors to add, by all means please add them to your comment. What do you think of authors having multiple pen names, is it confusing? Does it make sense to you? Comment and enter to win PASSION AND PRETENSE by Susan Gee Heino and The UNQUIET by J.D.Robb.
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