Why Did Stephen King Use The Pseudonym 'Richard Bachman'?


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Louise Gorman answered

Stephen king used the pseudonym 'Richard Bachman' for several of his early novels. After many of his novels were wildly successful under his own name, King decided that he wanted to see whether or not his books would achieve the same level of success without having his name on them. Another reason was that he was worried that many of the non-horror novels that he wished to write would clash with the expectations of his fans.

King chose the name 'Richard Bachman' partly as a tribute to crime author Donald E. Westlake's long-running pseudonym Richard Stark, and partly as a tribute to Bachman-Turner Overdrive, a band that King was listening to at the time he chose his pen name. King even created a wife for Richard Bachman - Claudia Inez Bachman, and dedicated his 1984 novel 'Thinner' to her.

Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Road Work (1981) and The Running Man (1982) were all stories that were published under the name 'Richard Bachman'. However, suspicions were aroused when horror fans and retailers began to notice the similarity between the two authors' literary styles.

Thinner became the first Bachman hardback to be published in hardback, and sold 28,000 before it became known that the author was really Stephen King, which caused sales to rocket. Eventually, a bookstore clerk located publishers' records at the Library of Congress, naming King as the author of one of Bachman's novels.

A press release announced Bachman's 'death', which was supposedly from 'cancer of the pseudonym'. Stephen King had been working on 'Misery' at the time of the announcement in 1985, a book which he had planned to release as a Bachman book.

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