Authors have complete control over how they want to be known to the public. The decision is based solely on their personal preference, whether they wish to be known by their actual birth names or a fictitious name. However, some people are not that aware of such information. Thus, some readers tend to be surprised when they realize the author they have been following has been using a fake name all this time.
In such instances, readers shall place no blame on the author because the act of using a fake name is a legal thing. There is a term used for these fake names: "Pseudonyms."
What are Pseudonyms?
Pseudonyms are used for fake names used by anyone, not just for authors or writers. The purpose of using a different name is for the person to remain anonymous. These are aliases to help conceal someone's identity and for their private life to stay incognito.
There are tendencies, especially for famous personalities when the public mingles with their personal life instead of focusing on their professional image. To avoid such, most professionals tend to use fake names when dealing with work-related matters.
Author's purpose for using different names (pseudonyms)
There are various reasons why authors make use of pseudonyms in publishing their work. However, you may not see them often nowadays, with self-publishers preferring to use their real names pasted on the front cover of their books. However, there are still enough considerations why authors should use pseudonyms.
Authors who are particularly renowned for their excellence in a particular genre may want to explore other areas of writing. Still, since their fans have known them for their trademark on the specific genre, their new idea may not be warmly welcomed by the majority of their readers.
Reasons why other authors prefer to publish under a pseudonym.
1. To start afresh
Publishing a book is already a tricky process, and despite all that, you still won't have any guarantee that the audience will positively receive your story. If you are not lucky and skilled enough, your book may receive backlash from the public and be universally despised. In this case, you can still reclaim yourself by publishing another book under a different name. By doing so, you are avoiding the possibility of your book receiving another criticism just because it has your name on it. Pseudonyms can often help in regaining your image and reputation.
2. Common name
Authors seek to be unique and distinct in the literary industry to be remembered by the masses. To achieve such an aim, aside from having a remarkable book, they will need an uncommon name that readers can distinguish, and this is not attainable when you share a common name with a renowned author. You would want to be known for yourself, not because you have the same name as someone famous.
3. To explore other genres
An author of suspense thrillers may want to try and explore writing romance novels. Still, publishing under his renowned name may not be a novel idea because his fans are accustomed to horror elements in his stories, and a sudden shift of genre can cause havoc and controversies. Hence, to avoid such instances, the author will have to publish the romance novel under a pseudonym. That way, he can still pursue his idea without having much trouble— keeping his thriller novel fanbase while gaining new ones from different genres.
4. To switch publishing companies
When a book has flopped, the author will most likely not have another chance of getting published by the same publishing company. These companies operate in business and if you are not a profitable asset to them, you will
Pseudonyms have been around for a long time. These are used for specific purposes, and each artist has the liberty to decide how they want to be known to the public if they opt to use their real name or conceal it under a completely different one.