How does an author publish a book or story completely anonymously and still collect royalties and/or profit on the book’s sales?
Completely anonymously? They don’t.
The publisher knows who they are; if they have an agent, their agent knows who they are.
Even if their publisher is Kindle Direct Publishing or iBooks, they have to provide enough information about themselves to set up an account, which will include verifiable financial information and thus their legal identity.
What an author can do is to ensure that only their agent knows who they are.
If the agent can then find Mr.
Anon a publisher who will accept the book without knowing the writer’s identity, the sales revenues will go to the agent, who will then pass them to the author.
Publishers may well not like this idea, though, because they could find themselves inadvertently doing business with people who would damage their reputation.
If they print a tale of action and adventure on the battlefield, and it turns out to be the work of a war criminal, they look at best stupid and at worst complicit in lining the pockets of a monster…
The problem with this is that you can’t sign a contract with no name, or a fake name.
You have to trust the agent to sign on your behalf, and you still have to sign a contract with your agent.
With iBooks and KDP, you can self-publish under any name you like, including ‘Anon’ – but you still have to register using your legal identity.
A friend of mine does this, publishing very steamy romances under the name of Annie Dyer, while collecting the revenues under her real identity as an eminently respectable teacher.
At some point in the process you have to trust at least one person to know who you are.
For example, an agent or publisher.
They will usually keep your secret unless the police get involved in which case legally they have to tell.
In self publishing, the ‘person' is Amazon who need to know your bank details to pay you.
Of course all Amazon really knows is that this is the account HR Roberts gets their money paid into.
It could be their partner or parent or business partner.
However, most cases they know that HR Roberts is really Harry Robert Bobson.