Tuesday, August 10, 2010

WHAT'S WITH ALL THE DOPEY PEN NAMES?

'Call me Jay Morris, dammit!'

I don't get this and think it’s just plain gimmicky.

Persnickety tough guy scribe Richard Price doesn't have a title yet for his next work -- but he does have a name for the author. And it ain't Richard Price.

The "Clockers," "Lush Life" and "Freedomland" writer will publish his next book under the pseudonym "Jay Morris" for a planned series of detective thrillers set in New York City.

Publisher Henry Holt and Company announced last week that the first edition is scheduled to hit shelves next fall.

Everyone knows that pseudonyms are a publishing tradition -- whether its Nora Roberts penning tales as J.D. Robb, Stephen King as Richard Bachman or Ruth Rendell at times calling herself Barbara Vine.

But I ask why? If everyone knows that Price is writing as Morris then why just publish a novel that way? I find it foolish.

Did Hemingway write under a pen name? Kerouac? Did Orwell? Author Price sounded off in a statement: "This, God save me, should be fun." Fun but dopey...

My fellow scribes, tell me why it's not gimmicky...

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15 comments:

  1. I'm with you Anthony. I'm not keen on them, especially when everyone knows who it actually is. No doubt his reasoning will be something like..."well, Richard Price has had writers block and writing under the name of Jay Morris has given his writing a new lease of life...blah, blah, blah."

    Either that or there's some tax fiddle going on..... :-)

    Clockers was a stonker of a book, and didn't he write The Wanderers? A great film that brings back loads of memories from my younger years...underage boozing, strip cards...ahh, the memories.

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  2. Yes, David... He DID write 'The Wanderers' as well as a slew of TV scripts and he was even a writer on HBO'S 'The Wire.'

    I saw him speak once at a writer's conference. he seemed so miderable. Pretty much told everyone to not waste our time screenwriting.

    He was a real pick-me-up...

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  3. Got me. Multiple Personality Disorder? which actually isn't a real disorder anymore.

    I can see wanting to distinguish between genre writing, but changing your name, when everyone already knows who it is, seems vain.

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  4. It would be more interesting if someone like Stephen King who does occassionally turn out a real stinker, was to submit one of those under a pseudonym and keep it a secret. See if "From A Buick Eight" sells a million copies giving credit to Joe Schmoe.

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  5. Funny Harry, when I worked at Barnes & Noble wwwwwwway back, "Thinner" by Richard Bachman had just come out and the "rumor" was that it was Stephen King.

    At the time I thought King was not happy with his earlier works and wanted the books to come out under a pseudonym. I could be wrong about it, though...

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  6. The only reason I would write under a pen name is if I wrote something that I thought was beneath my abilities but would sell. I really don't see the point if you're a famous author already, and people know about the pen name. Pointless.

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  7. I agree, Anthony. Seems a bit pointless to release books under another name AND release a press statement telling everybody about it...peculiar, to say the least.

    As for Uncle Stephen, from what I understand, he used Bachman because he didn't want to saturate the market with his name but was such a prolific writer, he convinced Signet Books to allow him to write under an alias.

    @Harry - mate, Buick 8 was excellent...stop ragging on the KING!!! :)

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  8. I don't understand it, especially when he holds a press release about it. Seems weird to me...

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  9. The first one that comes to mind is Ed McBain aka Evan Hunter. I never did quite get it. From the day I went online I have used my real name (but of course, nobody knows my maiden name so I am still somewhat anonymous). The only way I would use a pen name is if I were to write some erotic romance novels that I didn't want my mother-in-law to find out about. Although I'd probably tell her anyway. Seriously, if I were published in another highly respected genre and started writing romance novels, I would use a pen name. I think.

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  10. It's madness, no sense in trying to sort it out, Chico. If they were doing it to see how their work would be received without having their "famous" name attached then I could understand it. But if everyone knows--then what's the point?

    Having said that...hehehe... when I begin my underground smut empire I'm gonna use the pseudonym "Mae Gully" and dedicate every sleazy romance novel to him.

    Why? Two reasons. 1. It'll piss off Anton. 2. He brought the smut out in me and created a monster. Seems like paying homage makes sense. Lol.

    (I'm kidding! Or am I....hmmm....)

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  11. Drugs? Ego? One short brick of a load?

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  12. Back in the day there were loads of reasons for pen names, but in today's 24/7 no anonymity world there is no reason or then again every reason from the publisher's pov. They probably contracted with him under that nom-de-plume and now don't want to let go as the revenues they have from recognition under the pseudonym will be higher than his plain old name - my guess is it is not so much him as his publisher...you can call me anything but late for dinner..

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  13. I think Michael is on the right track. ANOTHER Stephen King book? Ho-hum. But Stephen King writing under an alias? Hey! What's up with that? I'd better buy the book and see!

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  14. Er... I don't get it. I'm guessing it is a gimmick. If nobody knows your pen name, that makes sense for any kind of personal or professional reason, but if they know it? That's a gimmick to draw attention to the series.

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  15. Well, damn, put me in the 'multiple personality disorder'. ;-) Something happens when you can adopt another name, another life than the one you have. It frees up an area of your mind that the 'you' might be too afraid to reach for. On the other hand, I see everyone's point. Just a matter of opinion and choice, I suppose.

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