I have been meaning to write a post ever since I found about Robert Galbraith’s true identity. Now, I never heard of this debut author, as I am sure many of us did not. I know at a certain Barnes and Noble store had only four copies, the usual standard with well reviewed debut authors. The release is somewhat limited because there isn’t enough buzz that would suggest it would be a big seller. This happens with most debuts, with the ones that succeed expectations get more copies produced. Let me tell you something though, as someone who wants to break into publishing, reads a lot, and writes, I am a little appalled by this new revelation, why? Pseudonyms are acceptable. Yes, I understand that. Sometimes authors create a pseudonym to release books that allows them to not completely alienate their established, loyal fan base. Or, in some cases, because the next genre they choose to write is not suitable for their original fan base.
One author who does this is indie author and literary agent Mandy Hubbard. Mandy Hubbard writes middle-school fiction, whereas her pseudonym, Amanda Grace, writes edgier young adult fiction not suitable for her audience when she writes under her given name. This is completely acceptable to me. And, she has been open about it from the beginning, that I am aware of. On her blog, mandyhubbard.blogspot.com, she states this and her reason behind the two identities. James Frey, not so gracefully yet successfully, created the name Pittacus Lore as a pseudonym to write young adult fantasy books, that he has some ghost writers on, with his Lorien Legacies series. (FYI, as I just checked, Lore’s biography has been changed, unfortunately). With his book A Million Little Pieces, his memoir, has no longer been taken seriously. Fun fact though, it was originally sent out as fiction. But, as fiction is harder to sell, memoirs and certain non-fiction genres are not. So, he decided to make that buck and lie. But with his Pittacus Lore persona, he can create worlds and battles that would not have been looked at or taken seriously. No one can trust him now. So, he made a smart move.
Now, Barnes and Noble released an article today, http://bnreview.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Five-Books/Pseudonyms/ba-p/10967?sourceId=L000011872&cm_em=hbcourtright%40yahoo.com&cm_mmc=Targeted-_-bn_review-_-130719_TD_BNR_BNREVIEW-_-NA, where they mention author authors who have “done” what she has. As I read through the article, I was getting slightly bothered. Out of the five authors mentioned, J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith, B. Traven, Alice Sheldon as Tiptree, J.R., Stephen King as Richard Bachmann and a book written by Carmela Ciuaru called Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms, J.K. Rowling seemed to not entirely fit in; nor B. Traven since it was more of a Nom de Plume like Dr. Seuss. I have decided if I was to be published I want two initials and my last name. I’m not creating a biography, truly, outside of who I am. George Orwell has had a Nom de Plume. Dr. Seuss was not a real name. Yet, it is know what his birth name is. Plus, actors do this all the time. But, do not take the creative license to create an identity full of lies and mislead people.
I say J.K. Rowling does not fit because her pseudonym seems to stand out on her own. Her book was successfully review, although not as much as if it was with her name. I do have to take in consideration the fact that The Casual Vacancy did not succeed as high as the expectations were laid out.
Was Robert Galbraith a way to get better sales rather than to pursue a new literary career?Although a law firm leaked her name, I also feel this is slightly a publicity stunt because of the completely fake biography. Yes, she is angry that it was released that it was her. But, why? Many of her predecessors have changed their name to express themselves in another market, and genre. It is one thing to want to create another literary identity to be able to reach a different audience. But, most authors do not hide, make up a biography, and have a boost in reprints. The Casual Vacancy was already a step outside of her comfort zone.I respect her decision to want to be taken seriously as an author and not have children that read her Harry Potter series read a more adult book, why must she do something like she has? I feel slightly duped.
To me, I am now feeling as if this new attention will ultimately take away from the material. What do you fellow bookworms think? Am I being too hard on her?