Musing Mondays #10

Posted October 6, 2014 / Musing Mondays, Weekly Memes / 14 Comments


Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up?

I’m okay with authors writing with pseudonyms. If you want to distance yourself from your other work, from a certain genre, or just be DIFFERENT for some reason – that works for me. I GET IT.

What I don’t get is WHY do authors with pseudonyms make it painfully clear that it’s really them writing?? What is the point in writing under a fake name if you’re just going to put RIGHT on the book that you’re – surprise! – really a different person who already has a successful writing career.

I don’t think writers should necessarily have to keep it a complete secret when they’re writing under another name, I just don’t get the point in broadcasting that you’re actually, you know, YOURSELF on a book where you clearly don’t want to be. Maybe it’s the publishing companies that do this crap, but maybe it’s the authors. I just don’t see the point in coming up with another name, writing under it, publishing the book with it, and then having someone plunk a sticker on top of the cover that says who you really are. Or worse – puts your real name right on the cover, published and everything.


J.K Rowling wanted to get out of her uber-popularity for a second and write under the name Robert Galbraith. This is one author where I can definitely understand the desire for a new identity. She wanted to distance herself from Harry Potter for once and write books that people could view as completely separate. She tried to keep it a secret for a while, but it was eventually leaked that she was Robert Galbraith. She said it was “liberating” to be him, and then she was outed. Ever since it was leaked, I’ve noticed books by Robert Galbraith ruined with stickers that say “JK ROWLING WROTE THIS SO BUY IT NOW DUMMIES!” (not exactly, but you get the point.) Like damn, let the girl escape for a little. If people didn’t notice the headlines when it was revealed, let them stay in the dark about it.

One that bugs me even more is “Jennifer Armentrout writing as J. Lynn.” That sentence was literally published on book covers. If she wanted to be separate from her real identity, in what world does it make sense to (A) put both names on the cover like that, and more importantly (B) her real name is BIGGER than the pseudonym. Why even have one?! The book is clearly not trying to hide anything in that Armentrout wrote it, so why bother with the whole J. Lynn thing anyways???

Maybe I’m the only person who is annoyed by this, but I had to put it out there. I don’t get the point. I know that it’s a different name in places where it matters (like on Bestseller lists and in directories), but the book cover is a pretty damn important location in getting people to buy books. If you want to separate yourself from your other work, you should try to AT LEAST avoid getting both names on your book covers. Sigh.

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14 responses to “Musing Mondays #10

  1. I’ve wondered this myself and I don’t think it’s the author. I think it’s the publisher’s decision to do that, which completely defeats the purpose of writing with any degree of annonimty. It’s as if the publisher has very little confidence the books will sell without using the author’s famous monniker on the cover.

  2. You are not the only person annoyed by this. I honestly don’t understand the point of using a pen name if you aren’t’ keeping it secret. I’m pretty sure the whole point of a pen name is just like you said, to write with a new identity to step away from your other pieces. I understand when it comes out eventually about who is behind the pen name (it is always bound to especially with big names like J.K.), but that is about it. I do know some authors that changed their name for like a different series. Nora Roberts is Nora Roberts for all of her books except for one series where she writes at J.D. Robb.That makes a little sense I guess. Whatever floats their boat. It won’t keep me from reading anything, unless of course I was trying to avoid that author…. haha 🙂

    • Haha exactly! I totally understand why they do it, as long as it is done “correctly” haha. I know that their identity coming out is totally inevitable, like you said-especially with JK, but it’s definitely the whole sticker and/or cover printing thing that bugs me!

  3. I’ve never understood the “. . . writing as . . .” thing either. I have to believe that it has something to do with publishing rights or something along the business side of publishing.

    • I’m sure it does, for some reason. My guess is that, with Jennifer Armentrout for example, J. Lynn is what technically appears as her name for bestseller lists, directories, Goodreads, etc… but the cover is such a huge part of the book – does her real name REALLY have to be bigger than the pseudonym! haha

  4. This kind of bugs me too, but not too much. In JLA’s case, I think that I had read that she used her full name for her YA series and her more “adult” series she used J. Lynn so her readers would know that the content was a lot more mature. However, I think once she started to become more popular, they wanted everyone to know what books she wrote. I heard once that she wanted to phase out the J Lynn moniker, but I haven’t seen that happen at all.

  5. The only time this makes sense is if the writer is really well known for one genre and wants to distinguish the style of writing but as you say in that case it seems pointless to put both names on the front of the book! I do wonder whose decision it is but like you I find it pretty annoying.

  6. Oh, haha, I forgot to say something else. I imagine the publishers, as you said, decide to put both names so people are aware it’s her, just writing a different genre. It’s still a little weird though.

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