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Re:author names

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  • David Lenander
    Writers in different genres sometimes adopt different pseudonyms to signal to their readers which sort of book is here published. In the case of Robin
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11, 2000
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      Writers in different genres sometimes adopt different pseudonyms to signal to
      their readers which sort of book is here published. In the case of Robin
      Hobb/Megan Lindholm, there really are two sorts of writers at work, even though
      both might be said to be publishing fantasy. One writer worked at rewriting
      and polishing her manuscripts into lovely and tight books like _Wizard of the
      Pigeons_ and the one about the faun and the family in Washington and Alaska,
      was it called _Cloven Hooves_? The other writes (I gather from reports) more
      conventional, long fantasy narratives that she dashes off in first draft
      without revision (she has been very decided about this point on panels) which
      sell far better than the Lindholm books. We are not likely to see more of the
      former sort of book--and who can blame her? Lindholm was a contender for our
      Aslan award, a nice little statuette for your mantel. Hobb has a livelihood.
      And maybe the Hobb books are better than reported. It could also be that as
      she's become more experienced as a writer she doesn't need to rewrite.
      Supposedly Kate Wilhelm doesn't rewrite once she starts typing (though she
      claims to plan the whole book out first, even down to actual words and
      sentences). But until I see raves from readers I trust I probably won't pick
      up a Robin Hobb book as I would a new Megan Lindholm book. Clearly, there are
      many more readers who like the Robin Hobb sort of book than liked the Lindholm
      sort of book. I think that's kind of sad, but those readers aren't asking for
      my opinion. Or maybe with time Robin Hobb will gradually mutate to something
      in-between--maybe they'll republish _Wizard of the Pigeons_ under the new
      writer name as they have early Stephen King books that appeared under a
      pseudonym, and find new readers for the Lindholm sort of book, making such a
      development possible.

      Sophie Masson wrote:

      > People have told me re Robin Hobb that the name made a difference--Random
      > House people here have told me that because it was androgynous, and also
      > carried quasi-mythical echoes(Robin Hood, of course!) somehow it stuck in
      > people's subsconscious. But I think myself as a writer and reader that names
      > don't make _that_ much difference--people may buy the first one based on
      > that: but if it's rubbish, no glamorous name in the world is going to
      > persuade people to part with their hard-earned dosh again. I think that
      > there is a version of the 'every dog has its day' proverb for
      > writers--somehow, some mysterious alchemy seems to click n: sometimes at the
      > beginning of a person's career, or much further down the track. I think of
      > people like James Lee Burke and Martin Cruz Smith--who both wryly commented
      > that their 'overnight success' actually took them twenty years to achieve!
      > Sophie
      > Author site:
      > http://members.xoom.com/sophiecastel/default.htm
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Donovan Mattole <mattole@...>
      > To: mythsoc@egroups.com <mythsoc@egroups.com>
      > Date: Thursday, 10 August 2000 23:01
      > Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Potter publisher promotion
      > >I'm afraid I have to support Ted on the marketing of the first HP
      > >book. It just didn't exist. This is a small point and might be a
      > >waste of a post, but I couldn't help jumping in here. Being on the
      > >front lines of bookselling (and after nine years of retail, graduate
      > >school or a career change is looking better every day) I see all of
      > >the crazy marketing stuff months in advance. If a book begins to
      > >take off I hear about in conference calls, talk about it in meetings,
      > >and get way more advertising stuff then I know what to do with. In a
      > >couple of weeks I will be flying back for a week conference with
      > >other GM's where we will be spending days talking about how we are
      > >going to promote all of the big titles that will be releasing this
      > >Fall (Jordan, King, Martin, and the list goes on) - talk about a
      > >boring conference. Anyway, Harry Potter caught us all by surprise.
      > >I still kick myself almost every day for not buying the 1st US
      > >edition. I first heard about it along with many others across the
      > >country on NPR's fresh air (or whatever the evening program was) as I
      > >was driving home from work. It sounded as though it was something I
      > >might enjoy and the next day I looked it up and we had three copies
      > >on-hand. I put one on hold, but then reshelved it thinking I
      > >wouldn't end up buying it. Needless to say I wasn't alone and when I
      > >changed my mind a few days later the books were gone and the hype had
      > >began to build. Within a few months we did have stacks and yes it
      > >was definately a bestseller and hasn't stopped, but when it first
      > >released there was no hype or big marketing push in any of the
      > >bookstores.
      > >------------------
      > >I agree with most everyone on the Rowling and Pullman comparison.
      > >They are completely different.
      > >------------------
      > >I just started reading a Robin Hobb book, Ship of Magic. I'm
      > >curious, has anyone else read her before and if so, what are your
      > >feelings. She's from the Seattle area and I know she never was
      > >popular in the 80's when she wrote under the Megan Lindholm name.
      > >Ever since she changed her pen name to Robin Hobb her books have sold
      > >like crazy. She's coming to town in a few weeks, so I decided to
      > >give her a try. Any thoughts? Did she re-invent herself, do you
      > >think the name made a difference, or was it just the early 90's when
      > >a lot of the current big selling names first came out with books?
      > >
      > >Happy reading.
      > >Donovan Mattole
      > >General Manager
      > >Borders Books & Music
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      > >
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org


      David Lenander, Library Manager I

      University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library Access Services

      Diehl Hall / 505 Essex SE, / Mpls., MN 55455

      Phone: work: (612)626-3375 fax: (612)626-2454 home: (651)292-8887

      e-mail: d-lena@... web-page: http://umn.edu/~d-lena/OnceUponATime.html
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