Another great footnote from Marina Koreneva’s chapter on “Russian Detective Fiction” in Reading for Entertainment in Contemporary Russia (see this post), in the context of the increasing publicity given to authors’ biographies in the mid-1990s:
The question of the reliability of the information presented by the publishers will not be discussed here, although it deserves attention. It is well known that many authors, especially at the dawn of the new Russian detective fiction, wrote under a pseudonym — some of them to avoid embarrassment (as in the case of graduates of the Literary Institute), others to avoid confusing their main profession with this ‘sideline’, still others under pressure from the publishers. One result of this has been situations where an author for one reason or another breaks a contract with a publishing house, but his name — like a brand name — remains in the possession of the publishers. So as not to lose the name they have worked to establish, publishers hire another, usually completely unknown writer, who continues to produce novels under the name of the already famous author. If the ‘real’ author continues to publish books under the same pseudonym and the publishers dig their heels in, then literary twins begin to operate on the book market (as was the case, for example, with Anna Malysheva and Viktoriia Platova, both of whom existed in two manifestations).
I imagine this sort of thing happens elsewhere as well.