pseudonyms (wasRe: RARA-AVIS: Re: "Star-Stalker" by Robert Bloch)

From: blumenidiot (
Date: 15 Mar 2008

--- In, "hardcasecrime" <editor@...> wrote:
> DJ-Anonyme wrote:
> > how do you decide when to use
> > an author's pseudonym and when
> > to use his real name in the
> > books you publish? For example,
> > why Richard Stark, but not
> > Robert Kyle?
> If an author is alive, we leave it up to him. I asked Robert
> and he said he'd like to see the book come out under his real
> Don Westlake would probably have been fine either way, and in fact
> used both names on the front cover ("Donald E. Westlake writing as
> Richard Stark"), but the book in question was part of the Parker
> universe, and the Parker books are known for having been written
> the Stark name, so it would have felt wrong somehow not to
have "Stark"
> on the spine.
> In the case of a dead author, we generally go with the name that's
> better known -- so, Erle Stanley Gardner rather than A.A. Fair
> we did say "writing as A.A. Fair" on the front cover), and Cornell
> Woolrich rather than George Hopley.
> I can't comment on *why* a given author prefers using either a
> pseudonym or his real name -- I'd need to be a psychologist for
> But wherever possible, we honor our authors' wishes.
> --Charles
  I hadn't replied to this thread because I'd assumed everyone knew the common reasons. In the pulp days a writer might use a pseudonym because his/her because a magazine editor might not want to have two or more stories by the same author appear in the same issue, I know in science fiction Robert Heinlein wrote some stories under the Anson MacDonald byline. Similarly, it might be difficult to publish two books or more books by the same author in the same year or even by the same publisher.

In Westlake's case THE Hunter was orinally submitted as a stand alone with Parker dying. Westlake's editor told him it had potential to begin a series. Westlake altered the book so Parker survived. The name Stark was originally chosen to describe the story and Parker's character. The Grofield books were ascribed to Stark because Grofield had a sometimes appeared as an associate of Parker.

Westlake started a very different series with another publisher as Samuel Holt When the publisher let slip Holt was Westlake, Westlake stopped writing the series. I was in a NYC bookstore which had the Starks, Coes and Westlakes together but not the Holts. I asked the owner why they had them like that, and she said Westlake sometimes came to her store and became upset if the Holts appeared with others he had written. Mark

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