1. Keeping it in the family, the three talented Brontë sisters published their writing under the surname Bell. Emily published Wuthering Heights as Ellis Bell, Charlotte brought out Jane Eyre as Currer Bell and Anne used Acton Bell to release The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, as well as their joint poetry collections and other works.
2. A. S. Byatt was born Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, but has been publishing writing under her androgynous pseudonym since 1964. Her novelist sister uses her birth name professionally.
3. Vita Sackville-West’s gender-confusing pen name is a shortened version of the far flouncier The Hon Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson, which she was born with. Famously the lover and muse of Virginia Woolf, Sackville-West published novels and poetry under her pen name, including The Edwardians and All Passion Spent.
4. Despite bringing out the best-selling book series in history (Harry Potter, if you hadn’t heard) in 1997, J.K. Rowling was advised by her publisher to swap her full name for two initials. Born Joanne Rowling, she chose ‘K’ from her grandmother Kathleen, which she adopted again during the Leveson Inquiry when she gave evidence.
5. Jane Austen published her debut novel Sense and Sensibility using merely ‘A Lady’ in 1811. The fact that she was happy to show herself as a woman, but not identify herself further, has mystified academics ever since.
6. Harper Lee dropped the ‘Nelle’ at the beginning of her name to publish her only novel, the autobiographical To Kill A Mockingbird.
7. George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans, and went on to author seven hugely successful novels, including Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch - which has been deemed the greatest novel in the English language by authors Martin Amis and Julian Barnes. She wanted to be taken seriously, and thus used her male pseudonym, and is still known as such today.
8. An author used to both different languages and pen names, Karen Blixen has published under Isak Dinesen, Osceola and Pierre Andrézel and is famous for her novel Out Of Africa.
9. Despite being deemed the “first modern writer for children” by biographer Julia Briggs, Edith ‘E.’ Nesbit published over 40 children’s books using her first initial, rather than her full name.
“I’m not normally a defender of big publishers. They price their books too high while most of their authors earn poverty wages. They take 12 to 18 months to publish a book — an anachronism in today’s world of instant self-publishing. They often reject talented writers who don’t offer the celebrity platforms of more marketable “authors” such as Snooki or Justin Bieber.
Despite the mistakes of the largest publishers, I don’t want them to go away. I want them to thrive by becoming more responsive to their customers and authors.
Unfortunately, the self-inflicted wounds of large publishers have already begun to render their businesses less relevant to the future of publishing. Authors are beginning to turn their backs on traditional publishers in favor of self-publishing. Authors are now hiring their own editors, cover designers and marketing consultants. By assuming responsibility for the roles once played by publishers, authors are earning up to 70% of the list price as their e-book royalty versus the 17.5% paid by traditional publishers. They’re publishing low-cost e-books that are hitting all the bestseller lists. The all-important access to distribution — once exclusively controlled by publishers — is now available to all self-publishing authors.
The next time you see an overpriced e-book, blame the publisher but not the agency pricing model.”—A dark day for the future of books - CNN.com (via infoneer-pulse)