When a writer first starts their career, they have to answer a simple question: What name will I publish under? These days, most authors use their real names. On other occasions, an author might use a pseudonym, also known as a pen name, instead. However, even famous authors who've always used their real name for their work often start publishing under a different name. They've found success in the industry with two different names.
There are many reasons why a famous author might want to write under a pseudonym. Often, if an author is known for a certain genre, like Nora Roberts with her contemporary romance, they might want to use a different name if they write for a different genre. This way, fans won't pick up that new book because of the author's name and then get confused when they're not reading the romance that they suspected. Other times, an author will switch o a pseudonym to have a more androgynous and less feminine name or if they want the new novel to stand on its own merit.
In an article for The New York Times Book Review, Francine Prose said "Pseudonyms are especially attractive to fiction writers, whose work (inventing people and seeing the world through their eyes) requires an impersonation, of sorts. Writing under a pen name is like doing an impersonation of someone doing an impersonation."
Read on for our list of seven famous authors who have also written under successful pseudonyms. You may be surprised to find some of your favorite authors in this list, including Anne Rice, Stephen King, Agatha Christie and J.K Rowling.
7 Nora Roberts is JD Robb
6 Daniel Handler as Lemony Snicket
5 Agatha Christie as Mary Westmacott
4 Anne Rice as Anne Rampling
3 Stephen King as Richard Bachman
2 Madeleine Wickham as Sophie Kinsella
1 J.K Rowling as Robert Galbraith
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