1) To write cross genres: It becomes necessary for authors to use pen names to switch between genres. Imagine the surprise when people came to know that a new crime novel called “The Cuckoo’s Calling” was in fact written by the one and only J.K Rowling, She used a pseudonym of “Robert Galbraith” to publish her new crime novel -” The Cuckoo’s Calling” not just because she wanted to be have a normal writer’s life for once ( which didn’t work, of course) but also because she didn’t want to confuse her readership. She felt it better to create a distinct following instead instead.
2) Demand of Audience: Stephen King gave life to “Richard Bachman” and wrote many books under this name because according to the publishers publishing more than one book by a single author would be unacceptable to the public at that time. Stephen King was himself willing because he wanted to test whether he was popular because of his talent or because of a stroke of luck. He alas, could never find out the reason as he was outed as “Bachman” too early to know. Well, at least we know that it was his writing skills.
3) To prevent gender bias: The Bronte sisters- Emily and Charlotte Bronte used pen names “Ellis Bell” and “Currer Bell” respectively because during the Victorian era, women were not respected as authors and they hardly had any readership. Now, even though women writers garner the same appreciation as men, certain genres are still considered male dominant. Nora Roberts chose to write under the name of “J.D Rodd “to write detective fiction even though when this was revealed, her fans accepted both the authors’ identities equally.It is also interesting to know that J.K Rowling had earlier published her famous harry potter series under the name of “Joanne Rowling” but was asked to change her pen name for the publisher felt young boys may not read the works written by a woman.
4) Establish credibility: Would you ever pick a suspense novel written by “Dick Roast”? Sometimes, it becomes necessary for writers to create pen name to establish credibility. Do you know who “Mark Sinclair” is? But you know who “Vin Diesel” is, right? They are both the same person!
5) Mask previous failures and controversies: Writers often use a pen-name to prevent the publishers to paint their works with the same brush as their earlier not-so -famous works, It gives a fresh new start to an authors and seldom authors need it, desperately. Some writers live a dual life and hence do not want to be associated with their books maybe because of the controversial subject matter or fear of judgement. Hence, they decide to hide under a false name more or less like a ostrich who puts her head into the sand with the hope that it’s prey doesn’t find her, but obviously, they do.