Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nom de Plume Outwits Nielsen BookScan

Book is Judged by the Name On Its Cover.  (The New York Times, 2/23/2012)

Excerpt: Just when Ms. O’Brien began to fear that “The Dressmaker” would be relegated to a bottom desk drawer like so many rejected novels, Ms. Newberg came up with a different proposal: Try to sell it under a pen name. 

Written by Kate Alcott, the pseudonym Ms. O’Brien dreamed up, it sold in three days. 

Ms. O’Brien and Ms. Newberg had cannily circumvented what many authors see as a modern publishing scourge — Nielsen BookScan, the subscription service that tracks book sales and is at the fingertips of every agent, editor and publisher — with a centuries-old trick, the nom de plume. It has been employed by writers from Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) to Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) to Stephen King (Richard Bachman).

No, it's not 'change your name'.

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