Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Rose By Any Other Name

The publishing industry has been set alight recently by the discovery that debut crime author Robert Galbraith is none other than J K Rowling. It set me thinking about pseudonyms and why authors use them. In J K Rowling’s case, she wanted to release a book without all the attention that usually surrounds her new releases, but even if she wasn’t mega famous, her publishers might have preferred her to use a pseudonym for a very different style of book. Agatha Christie, best known for her whodunnits, used a pseudonym for her romantic fiction, which was written under the name of Mary Westmacott. Jean Plaidy, well known for her historical fiction about real people, used the pseudonym of Victoria Holt for her Gothic romances.

I’ve used pseudonyms for some of my books because they’re written in different styles or genres to my main fiction. My Regency whodunnit, Murder at Whitegates Manor - Jane Austen meets Agatha Christie - is published under the name of Eleanor Tyler. I used a different name because I didn’t want readers to buy it thinking it was one of my usual Regencies and then be disappointed. It works the other way, too, I didn’t want readers who discovered me through Murder at Whitegates Manor to buy another book and then be disappointed it wasn’t a murder mystery.

I used a different name again, Amy Watson, for a book called The Rake, which is a Regency romance but it’s a lot lighter and more humorous than my Amanda Grange romances. Alex wants to look like a rake so that he can win the young lady of his dreams and he enlists the help of his best friend Lizzie. Much hilarity ensues when she tries to help him, ably assisted by her two female friends who both find loves of their own. By the end of the book, Alex finds out that the young lady of his dreams might not be the woman he loves  after all.

If you’d like to try them, they are available from all Amazons and there are links below. There are also links to my latest Amanda Grange release, a “box set” edition which includes my first three Regency romances in one download for a special price of £1.99.

What do you think of authors using pseudonyms? Do you think it makes life easier for readers? Or do you prefer all of an author’s titles to be published under the same name, even if they’re in a different genre?

Murder at Whitegates Manor Amazon UK  Amazon US
The Rake Amazon UK  Amazon US
Regency Box Set 1 by Amanda Grange Amazon UK  Amazon US

Amanda Grange


Henriette said...

Interesting post. I think there are both advantages and disadvantages of using pseudonyms. The advantage is that it gives the writer greater freedom to explore other genres without expectations among the readers that, for instance, Book 5 is going to be in the similar vein to Book 4.

On the other hand, the disadvantage is that you've already spent some time building up one name, and will then have to spend time building up the new name as well.

But maybe it's horses for courses, I don't know :-)

Fenella J Miller said...

I think if you already have a'name' in any genre it can help with sales for the book. Jean Fullerton as seen an upsurge in sales of her Victorian books since "Call Nurse Millie" has become a bestseller.

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

I'm all for pseudonyms - they also give you the option of privacy in your personal life.

How did you decide on Eleanor Tyler and Amy Watson for your other names, Amanda?

Amanda said...

Eleanor was from Sense and Sensibility and Tyler just seemed to fit after it. I think Amy came to me because the book is amiable and again Watson just seemed to fit, although I might have had Jane Austen's The Watsons in my mind when I thought of it.

Helena said...

I strongly agree with authors using pseudonyms for different types of books. You can always get over the problem of not capitalising on the goodwill of an established name by telling everyone you would normally tell about a new release, and by using linked websites. I also agree with authors using them for privacy.