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JK Rowling Pen Name

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Philip Overby, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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  2. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    The article gives the impression that JK Rowling was using the pen name to avoid piggy-backing off the success of her Harry Potter series. Then you read this nugget:

    This is since April. You know the publisher let slip the true identity of Robert Galbraith to make up for the lackluster initial sales. I'd even wager the contract for the book has a clause in it that allows for such a thing. "We can reveal your real name in three months if the sales do not reach XXXXX amount."
     
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I'm not saying they didn't but 1500 HB copies in three/four months for a new author with little/no publicity is not too bad. You can often get on to the UK top ten HB fiction with sales of 2-300 a week...
     
  4. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    Yeah, 1500 isn't too bad. Many initial print runs are only 5000-10000 and you have a year to sell them before they're pulled. I'm sure she was hoping for a runaway success, but at least she got some great critical reviews.

    On the other hand, I am jaded and believe the publisher told them to like it...especially when you have so many reviewers saying things like, "Hard to believe this is his first novel" and "I'm sure we'll find out down the line this is actually a psuedonym of a famous author".

    Anybody read it yet? It's #1 on Amazon
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  5. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    I suspect the publisher printed more than 5000 of the hardcovers.

    I think it goes to show that even with a writer of talent, it can be difficult to break out of the pack.

    In the past I've read about midlist authors that never took off and finally couldn't get contracts for new novels, so they started all over again, writing under another name. This was a few years back before self-publishing was as viable as it is today.
     
  6. phillipsauthor

    phillipsauthor Minstrel

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    On the other hand, Rowling said in one of the interviews that she wished people hadn't found out so soon. She said that she was enjoying getting the reviews and critiques from people who didn't know she was Rowling, and not having the pressure of being scrutinized all the time. I have no doubts that she intended to eventually reveal who she was, but I don't think it was supposed to happen this soon.

    It's not like she needed the sales for the money, or anything. She might have been curious as to whether she could succeed without the brand power of her name behind her.
     
  7. Tirjasdyn

    Tirjasdyn Scribe

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    She used JK in the first place because she'd get better sales not having a woman's name directly....
     
  8. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

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    If she really wanted to stay anonymous, she shouldn't have published through her regular publisher. The temptation to spill the beans and sell a zillion more copies instantly must have been overwhelming. Maybe next time she'll self-publish and no one will know until she wants them to.
     
  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    There could well be contract issues.
     
  10. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

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    Unlikely, because she submitted the manuscript to at least one other publisher. When it was rejected, she turned to her regular publisher. So it doesn't sound as if she's contractually bound in any way.
     
  11. Mara Edgerton

    Mara Edgerton Troubadour

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    So, back to the original post. Yes, I use different pen names for different genres. All my stories have gay or lesbian characters--because that's me--but I have one author name for slightly smutty books that deal with power exchange issues. Mara Edgerton, on the other hand, is my pen name for a fantasy-mystery series without any smut or D/s. Some people may read both, but in general these will attract different audiences! (Besides, I wanted to give my Mom the Mara pen-name and say, "It's safe for you to read any of these books." :p)
     
  12. Weaver

    Weaver Sage

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    Why? Does anyone have any hard evidence that readers care whether an author is a man or a woman, or is this just something that 'everyone knows' and so it never gets questioned?

    I'm not saying that that wasn't Rowlings's reason for choosing to use her initials instead of her first name, but was it actually necessary?
     
  13. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    I really don't care what name she wants to use...

    The truth is (I have always said it, and I always will!) that J.K. Rowling is a freaking hell of a writer... She has a huge imagination, incredible talent and storytelling skills that most people cannot even dream about, and I am sure that she can be wildly successful in any literary genre that she wants.

    My best wishes for her, and for the success of whatever that she wants to write after Harry Potter.
     
  14. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    Ha! I completely missed the question in the OP. I just use Robby Richardson for children's books and Zero Angel for my spec fiction and math books.
     
  15. phillipsauthor

    phillipsauthor Minstrel

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  16. Ddruid

    Ddruid Minstrel

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    I believe it was her publishers who suggested using her initials. Apparently they believed that people might not be inclined to read a book written by a woman. Of course, nobody would put up with a statement like that today.
     
  17. Weaver

    Weaver Sage

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    I don't think that it's 'no one would read a book by a woman,' but instead 'nobody would read a book of this genre by a woman.' Some people have some... antiquated notions about who can write what kinds of stories. And the bias happens both ways; men have to use feminine pen names or just their initials to write romances, for example. Such biases are wrong, but they do still exist.

    (This is probably another topic on which I am not qualified to have an opinion.)
     
  18. Aosto

    Aosto Sage

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    I think I probably would use multiple names. If I wrote great fantasy, but crap crime/mystery, I wouldn't want that to bleed over into my fantasy writing and people hate me for it.

    Not that I write great anything :)
     
  19. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    Nobody would put up with a statement like that today? Are you kidding?

    The only reason it wouldn't be done would be because the Internet gives us as much information as we would like (and probably more than we would like) about authors.
     
    Ddruid and Weaver like this.
  20. Kevlar

    Kevlar Troubadour

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    Yeah I have to agree here. Unfortunately our society is still rather chauvinistic, it's just hidden behind a veil of the politically correct. The idea that all of society views women as men's equal is naive and idealistic considering the long-standing bias. That doesn't go away in a few decades, and while we as a society have made strides that way we've hardly started the marathon.
     
    Zero Angel likes this.
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