Apparently. But should you? There’s an author who publishes on Amazon called Stephen King. He isn’t the Stephen King who we know and love though. The four short books of his that I noticed all have two and a half, or two star average ratings overall. One of them has over two hundred reviews. All four of them are being lambasted, but all of their rankings are high, so they’re consistently selling well and have been for quite some time. This writer is obviously quite happy to take the flack while making money.
Many of the outraged reviews sharing that this isn’t the “real” Stephen King would make you wonder why people would keep on buying it. I nearly bought it though. Certain authors like King and Terry Pratchett I always just grab when I see one that I don’t have in my collection. It was only because the cover was so bad that I scrolled down to the reviews. I also don’t read these books as soon as I buy them. Generally they hang about for months in my Kindle – I’ve got some that have been lurking unopened in there for years, so returning them wouldn’t be an option. I could see where such a deception could lead to me posting my first ever one star review.
I’m pretty sure that Amazon wouldn’t let anyone use Stephen King as a pen name, so I’m assuming that this writer really does own that moniker. It must be a fairly common name. He’s not doing anything illegitimate if that really is his name, but I wonder why anyone would want to purposely sell his books knowing full well that readers think that they were written by someone else. And then just carry on doing that after hundreds of complaints. I don’t see any glory in that. When the other Jo Robinson’s books occasionally get added to my lists, I always request that Amazon remove them. I don’t want to reach readers by hanging on to the coat tails of an already very successful author. Slow and steady is good enough for me.
The minute there’s a breakout success, thousands of writers latch on and try to emulate the bestseller. The thing about breakouts is that they are in some way unique. They challenge, inspire, are relatable, or in some way emotionally moving or funny. Carbon copies of them might possibly give a reader some pleasure, but it will never be the same as the original. We need to be our own breakouts. If we believe in our work there is no need to think for a moment that tricking readers into thinking that we’re the real Danielle Steele will lead to anything but rage, just because we have the same name. E L James did manage to luck out by piggy backing Twilight, but that’s a one in a million kind of thing, and a whole other can of worms. Write what you write, follow your own star, and be proud and brave enough to make sure that readers see the real you.