Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Not Just A Rowling Thing : Six Authors Gone Undercover

The book world (and the rest of the world) imploded when it was discovered that the debut mystery author Robert Galbrath, was none other than J.K. Rowling. I can understand why Rowling would want to publish a book under a pseudonym, so she could judged purely on the merit of her writing and not on her legacy.

But, Jo Rowling isn't the first author to go undercover. Check out these other authors who have published books under the cover of a pen name.

Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler)

Author of the  beloved childhood series, A Series of Unfortunate Events,  Daniel Handler went undercover with the pen name Lemony Snicket, one of the characters in the book. In 2011 Handler wrote the Printz award honored YA novel Why We Broke Up as himself.

James Frey (aka Pittacus Lore)

In 2009 James Frey, the author who was famous for basically lying to Oprah, started a book packaging company for YA fiction. His goal was to create highly marketable fiction that would sell to Hollywood. Working with MFA student Jobie Hughes the two put together I Am Number Four under the name Pittacus Lore.

Paula Stokes ( aka Fiona Paul)

Fiona Paul's Venom swept readers into the world of Renaissance Venice,  in 2014 Fiona Paul will be taking a break while Paula Stokes releases two contemporary novel from HarperTeen; Liars, Inc and The Art of Lainey.

Stephen King (aka Richard Bachman)
This is probably the closest incident to what happened with Jo Rowling. In the 1970's  and 1980's King published a few novels as Richard Bachman so as not to oversaturate the market of his brand. He even went as far as to use his literary agent's insurance agent's picture as the author photo. However when one bookseller figured it out, the sales of the books skyrocketed.

 Michelle Rowen (aka Morgan Rhodes)

Michelle Rowen is known for her supernatural romances for teens and adults. In 2012 she debuted the high fantasy, Falling Kingdoms, under the name Morgan Rhodes. Interesting fact--Rowen also published a futuristic thriller in 2008 under the name Michelle Maddox, but it will be republished  under her real name with Harlequin Teen.

Robyn Schneider ( aka Violet Haberdasher)

Having previously published YA fiction and non-fiction Schneider published her middle grade series, Knightley Academy, under the pen name Violet Haberdasher.


  1. This is so interesting! I had no idea about any of these! I'm a fan of the I Am Number Four books, so I was really surprised when I read that James Frey helped create and market the books. So cool!

  2. I didn't know about that one until I Googled Pittacus Lore to see if that was even his real name. I've never read the books, glad to hear they are good !

  3. I knew a few of these, but Rowen and Schneider were surprising! Great post! ^_^

  4. These were epic to read! I knew Stephen King published under a pen name, but I didn't know what it was.

  5. Heh, I love some of the pseudonyms these authors choose for themselves! Like Lemony Snicket and Pittacus Lore. And I wish my last name was Haberdasher! haha.

  6. Lemony Snicket is the best! (I actually just reread The Bad Beginning for fun the other night- it's so clever!) Violet Haberdasher is an awesome pen name. It sounds very proper and writer-ly.


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