Pseudonyms: A “Casual” Case Study

Who woulda thunk it would be J.K. Rowling, of all people, to test the power of the pseudonym?

Rowling, of course, is the gazillion-selling author of the Harry Potter series. Upon hearing that she’d bought herself a Scottish castle, I wondered whether we would ever hear from her again. Hadn’t she already hoovered up all the loose change in the publishing world? Couldn’t she retire from writing and, I don’t know, administer charities or something?

Apparently not. Last fall, amid much fanfare (although lacking the squealing tweens and the giveaways of round-framed glasses that greeted the launch of the later Harry Potter books), Rowling released her first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, to tepid reviews. Right now, it’s got a 3-star average from some 3,600 reviews on Amazon; one called-out review says the book is “like a bad movie that you just want to end so you can say you know how it ends.”

But if you thought Rowling’s literary career was over, you’d be wrong. Continue reading “Pseudonyms: A “Casual” Case Study”

You Asked For It: J. Johnson Higgins

Indies Unlimited reader J. Johnson Higgins asks, “If you are an author and your writing is different from your other professional work, what are some best practices for keeping your identities under control so that they don’t harm one another? Fun examples: It’s cool if you’re a forensic psychologist that writes murder mysteries (everybody loves that) but if you’re a school guidance counselor that wrote a fiction novel titled “I Slept with Your Mom then Killed Her!” I imagine it gets really strange when it comes time to promote.” Continue reading “You Asked For It: J. Johnson Higgins”

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