Getting back to the pseudonym question that I have been pondering for a while…
For some reason, this story has stayed with me – hidden in the deep recesses of my memory – as one of my “tid-bit interesting” stories relating to famous authors.
Stephen King was an English teacher before his books “took off.” Actually he worked many jobs, one of which was janitor at a school. Given his enormous writing talent, it was only a matter of time (and perseverance!) before his books became best sellers.
Once King’s books hit the best seller lists, he conducted an experiment. In the 1980s, he published several novels under the pseudonym “Richard Bachman.” He denied all rumors that Bachman’s writings were his. There was a phony author picture, and a phony author’s biography attached to the books. His Bachman books’ dedications were to Bachman’s significant loved ones, including Bachman’s loving wife. King deliberately distanced himself from the Bachman pseudonym. Apparently, King wanted to see if his “Stephen King” notoriety affected his book sales.
While Stephen King’s novels were all hitting the best sellers’ lists, his Richard Bachman novels did modestly well. One of his Richard Bachman novels sold 28,000 copies. When it was finally discovered that the Richard Bachman novels were actually Stephen King’s, that particular novel increased its sales by 10%! Stephen King had made an important discovery.
Name Brand, Name Recognition, Name Loyalty, Name Demand… call it what you will… There’s apparently a lot to be said about name recognition.
Pseudonyms may be nice, but it’s up to the loyal fans to track you down!