As a writer, you naturally want to make a name for yourself. But what if that name isn’t the one you were born with? It is well-known that history’s greatest literary masters created their masterpieces under other names. While writing under a pseudonym many of the greatest names were invented. Writing under pseudonyms is a fine and honored tradition.
Most people know that Richard Bachman was the alias of Stephen King. Joanne Rowling wrote under the pen name Robert Galbraith. And many of today’s bestselling authors use pseudonyms as well.
For the past few years, Joanne Rowling, the Harry Potter author has been writing a series of crime novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. She said that there was a phenomenal amount of pressure that went with being the writer of Harry Potter, and that aspect of publishing those books she does not particularly miss. So she decided to create something very different.
One of the most famous authors Stephen King wrote some of his masterpieces under the nom de plume “Richard Bachman”. He explained: “I did that because back in the early days of my career there was a feeling in the publishing business that one book a year was all the public would accept.”
The Bronte sisters published their volume of poetry under pen names to avoid contemporary prejudice against female writers. They adopted masculine first names, but all three retained the first letter of their first names: Charlotte became Currer Bell, Anne became Acton Bell, and Emily became Ellis Bell.
Isaac Asimov, legendary author of science fiction, is less well known for using the nom de plume Paul French. Asimov had a great proposition to write a series of science-fiction novels that could be adopted for television. The problem is that he found this program to be uniformly awful. That’s why to use the pseudonym was a great solution of this problem.
Theodor Seuss Geisel, an American writer and illustrator, wrote under the pseudonym “Theo Lesieg”. He started using the pen name after he was caught throwing a party and drinking gin with his friends in his room, and because this was back during Prohibition, he had to pay the price. He managed to keep writing for the magazine Jack-O-Lantern but under the pseudonym. Moreover, Dr. Seuss is another pen name used by Mr. Geisel. He started using “Dr. Seuss” after he graduated college, as a consolation to his father for never pursuing medicine. He combined “Dr.” and “Seuss”, his middle name, which was also his mother’s maiden name.
The infographic below explores 8 famours authors’ pseudonyms and the reasons of writing something secretly under a pseudonym. Take a look: