Releasing a book is a major achievement and many writers dream of seeing their name printed as the author of a published book. However, occasionally authors publish books under a pseudonym. A pseudonym is a fictitious pen name that an author assumes when releasing a book. They use it when they don’t want their real name, for whatever reason, to be attached to the book.
During the 18th century, when only male authors were given the opportunity to publish literature, some women would use a pseudonym as a way of getting their own work out there without any gender bias.
It may seem like a strange concept, but authors using pseudonyms are quite common. Here are five authors you didn’t know who have used a pseudonym when publishing their book.
J. K. Rowling
Author Joanne Rowling used the name JK Rowling when publishing the world-famous Harry Potter series. She adopted this more masculine name as publishers were worried using her own name would discourage boys from buying the books.
Joanne Rowling used a pseudonym again after she had released all the books in the Harry Potter series. She wanted to write a book without the extra hype it would receive if the public knew it was one of hers. She used the name Robert Galbraith when she published the detective story “The Cuckoo’s Calling”. The true identity of Robert Galbraith was eventually discovered, however, and the book received more sales once the public knew it was her book.
Lemony Snicket is the pen name used by the author, Daniel Handler, who wrote the popular children’s books and now famous Netflix series ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’.
While it is unclear why Handler decided to use a pseudonym when publishing his books, he wrote the thirteen bestselling books from 1999 to 2006. However, Handler has written adult books that he has published in his own name.
The world-famous author Stephen King used a pseudonym when his horror books first started to become increasingly popular. He did this because he was very keen to write more books, but his publishers thought that one book a year was enough to maintain his brand and keep fans interest.
Thus, he adopted the name Richard Bachman and published seven books under this name until a bookstore worker noticed the incredibly similar writing styles between the two authors and King’s secret identity was uncovered.
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis (referred to as C.S Lewis) became very well-known for his Christian-themed children’s book series called The Chronicles of Narnia. It is considered a classic piece of children’s literature but previously, he wrote poetry under a different name.
He had used the name Clive Hamilton for some of his poetry, but it did not receive much attention. He also used pen name N. W. Clerk to write about the death of his wife in ‘A Grief Observed’.
Although it may seem like a strange concept to not want the gratification and praise for getting a piece of your written work published, many of the most famous authors have used a pseudonym when releasing their work.