Pseudonyms

I knew that some authors had pen names, but I just recently realized that they’re actually pretty common and I then decided to research the reasons as to why writers used pseudonyms.

One of the reasons writers use pen names is to hide their gender.  In 1968, there was a new science fiction writer.  Apparently, the book was written thoughtfully and logically, and was a brilliant work of literature.  Because of this, and the time era, many people assumed that the author was a man named, James Tiptree Jr.  They were shocked to find out that the novel was written by a woman named, Alice Sheldon, who was also a CIA agent and a doctor of experimental psychology.  Because of gender stereotypes, that sadly still exist today, writers sometimes use pseudonyms to hide their gender to avoid judgement on how they’re “writing in the wrong genre” or they’re “too young or old to be writing a certain genre.”  There are male authors who write novels considered feminine, or written in the perspective of a woman, and some of them use female pen names.  There are also female writers who use male pseudonyms if they are writing a novel directed for males.  I think writers could also do this because there is hype about how women understand each other and men understand each other.  There’s also a stereotype that men and women don’t understand each other. For example, if it was known that a male author wrote a book meant for females, or in the perspective of a woman  there might be some women who wouldn’t attempt to read it because they might think the author would not properly capture a woman’s feelings or be able to empathize.  The author of “The Harry Potter Series”, J.K Rowling is also a pen name.  Someone suggested that the series may not be as popular with boys if it was known that the author was a woman.  The “J” represents the first initial in her first name, but the “K” was the first initial of her paternal grandmother.

If authors write in more than one genre, they sometimes use a different name for each, to avoid judgement and disappointment from their audience.  If an author wrote both urban fantasy and non- fiction, they may not be taken seriously because of the wide difference in the genres.  Readers might be disappointed if the writer who they thought wrote factual, logical, and realistic works, turned out to also write about werewolves, vampires, and other fictitious creatures.

Another reason for pseudonyms is because many writers could have day jobs.  They don’t want to be judged for that, nor receive different paychecks than the next employee.

Some authors use their maiden names for privacy, or because their married name sounds similar to another popular author.

The following are pseudonyms/ maiden names of some authors:

Claudia Gray

Lauren Oliver

Cassandra Clare

Elizabeth Scott

Jennifer Shaw

Kate Brian

Tracy Deebs

lemony snicket

Pittacus Lore

J.K. Rowling

References:

http://www.mbbp.com/resources/iptech/pseudonyms.html

http://www.jkrowling.com/en_GB/#/timeline/pen-name

-Maddie

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