A lot of times it has happened that your first piece is considered an instant classic and you sky rocket to stardom. At the same time, expectations surrounding you reach sky high and pressure starts to sink in. To avoid all this writers make use of pseudonyms so that their reputation is not on the line and they can experiment with their artistic abilities. A pseudonym is a name that a person assumers which differs from his or her true name. Here we are going to take a look at 10 famous writers who have used pseudonyms.
10. J.K Rowling as Robert Galbraith
First up on our list of ten famous writers with pseudonyms is J.K Rowling. It would be fair to say that today’s generation owe their childhood to J.K Rowling. Author of the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling’s masterpiece has become the most iconic book of all time. The Harry Potter books have sold about 450 million copies making it one of the most successful books of all time. Recently Rowling penned a book The Cuckoo’s Calling, a detective story under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, which is a complete turn around from the fantasy genre of the Harry Potter books. Prior to the revelation that Rowling had written the book a mere 1500 copies were sold. After Rowling’s secret was out the sales sky rocketed by 507,000% and the book was met with much praise. The author called it “a liberating experience” and said that she took up the pseudonym to “publish without hype or expectation”.
9. Stephen King as Richard Bachman
The undisputed king of horror storytelling, Stephen King assumed the pseudonym Richard Bachman. King has penned Carrie and The Shining both of which have been adapted has Hollywood movies. His books have sold nearly 350 million copies making him a commercial success. Out of the fifty novels he has published, seven have been published under his pseudonym Richard Bachman. King said that he adopted the pseudonym so he could release more than one novel a year.
8. Charlotte, Anne and Emily Bronte as Curer, Acton and Ellis Bell
The famous Bronte sisters published their early works under their pseudonyms of male names. This was done so because in the 19th century women in England were not allowed to publish, so the Bronte sisters assumed their pseudonyms out of necessity rather than creative reasons. In 1846 they published their book of poems in which all three sisters contributed. In 1847 all three sisters released their most famous books Wuthering Heights(Emily Bronte), Agnes Grey(Anne Bronte) and Jane Eyre(Charlotte Bronte) under their pseudonyms. Later they revealed their true identity to their publisher and their original names were restored on the books and all three make it to our list of famous writers with pseudonyms.
7. Agatha Christie as Mary Westmacott
Next up on our list of ten famous writers with pseudonyms is Dame Agatha Christie who has the honor of being the best selling novelist of all time with her books having sold approximately 4 billion copies. She has penned 66 detective novels under her own name. Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None are considered one of the greatest crime novels ever with the former being adapted into a movie. She wrote six romance novels under her pseudonym, Mary Westmacott which deviate from her murder mystery genre which her readers loved so much.
6. Nora Roberts as J.D Robb
Author Nora Roberts has used more than one pseudonym in her career. Writing under her original name, Roberts writes under the romance genre but she has gained much critical and commercial acclaim for her science fiction series in Death which she has penned under her pseudonym J.D Robb. She has also written under the names Sarah Hardesty and Jill March. Roberts remains one of the successful writers of all time.
5. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson as Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll is famous for writing Alice in the Wonderland. Carrol’s real name is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He first translated his name into Latin which was Carolus Ludovicus and then translated them back to English and reversing the two to come up with Lewis Carrol. He published his most famous work Alice in the Wonderland under his pseudonym.
4. Isaac Asimov as Paul French
Widely considered as one of the greatest writers in the science fiction genre Isaac Asimov also makes it to our list of famous writers with pseudonyms. He gained initial success for his Robot series and Foundation series during the 1950s. He later took up his pseudonym Paul French to write the Lucky Starr series which targeted teenagers. He found success with both his original name and his pseudonym.
3. Eric Arthur Blair as George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair gained success writing under his pseudonym George Orwell. He was famous for his literary criticism and for his books which had heavy political messages. He is famous for writing 1984 and Animal Farm both of which have influenced popular and political culture with the former being adapted into a motion picture.
2. Stanley Leiber as Stan Lee
The famous comic book writer who has created superheroes like Spider-Man, the Hulk. X-Men and the Fantastic Four was born Stanley Leiber. He has gained acclaim for his works under his pseudonym that he has now adopted it as his legal name. The reason he adopted the pseudonym in the first place was to save his real name for more serious pieces of literature.
1. Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski as Joseph Conrad
Though it is just an English translation of his Polish name Josef Konrad makes our list of famous writers with pseudonyms as Joseph Conrad. Author of the famous novel ‘Heart of Darkness’ which is considered as one of the greatest novels ever written changed his name so that his real name could not be distorted.
So here was a list of ten famous writers with pseudonyms and as you can see all of these writers had different reasons for adopting their pseudonyms, whether it was for artistic reasons or out of sheer necessity. We would suggest our readers that you not only read the famous works of these writers but also read their works written under their pseudonyms and see if you can spot any change from their original style. Happy reading!