At the beginning of Stephen King's career, the general view among publishers was such that an author was limited to a book every year at the utmost; any more, it was felt, was not acceptable to the public. King therefore wanted to write under another name in order to double his production. He convinced his publisher, Signet Books, to print these novels under a pseudonym.
King also stated in his introduction to The Bachman Books that Bachman was an attempt to make sense out of his career and try to answer the question of whether his success was due to talent or luck. He says he deliberately released the Bachman novels with as little marketing presence as possible and did his best to "load the dice against" Bachman. King concludes that he has yet to find an answer to the "talent versus luck" question. The Bachman book Thinner sold 28,000 copies during its initial run--and then ten times as many when it was revealed that Bachman was, in fact, King.
The originally selected pseudonym was Gus Pillsbury (King's maternal grandfather); but at the last moment King changed it to "Richard Bachman", in tribute to crime author Donald E. Westlake's long-running pseudonym Richard Stark. The name Stark was used in King's novel The Dark Half, a novel about an author with a pseudonym.
The surname was in honor of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, a rock and roll band King was listening to at the time.
King dedicated Bachman's early books — Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Road Work (1981), and The Running Man (1982) — to people close to him, and worked in obscure references to his own identity. These clues, not to mention the similarity between the two authors' literary styles, aroused the suspicions of horror fans and retailers.
King steadfastly denied any connection to Bachman and, to throw fans off the trail, dedicated Bachman's 1984 novel Thinner to "Claudia Inez Bachman", supposedly Bachman's wife. There was also a phony author photo of Bachman on the dustjacket, credited to Claudia. He also has one of the characters describe how the strange happenings are like a "Stephen King" novel in the book.
Thinner was Bachman's first title to be published in hardback. It sold 28,000 copies before it became widely known that the author was really Stephen King, whereupon sales went up tenfold. The link became undeniable when a persistent bookstore clerk couldn't believe that Bachman and King were not one and the same, and eventually located publisher's records at the Library of Congress naming King as the author of one of Bachman's novels. This led to a press release heralding Bachman's "death" — supposedly from "cancer of the pseudonym, a rare form of schizonomia". At the time of the announcement in 1985, King was working on Misery, which he had planned to release as a Bachman book.
King used the "relationship" between him and Bachman as a concept in his 1989 book The Dark Half, a story in which a writer's darker pseudonym takes on a life of its own. King dedicated The Dark Half to "the deceased Richard Bachman". Originally there were plans to make the book a collaboration between the two, although this was later scrapped.
In 1996, Bachman's The Regulators came out, with the publishers claiming the book's manuscript was found among Bachman's leftover papers by his widow. Still, it was obvious from the book's packaging and marketing campaign that it was really written by King. There was a picture of a young King on the inside back cover, and the "also by this author" page listed not only works Bachman was credited with writing, but also works he wrote "as Stephen King". The Regulators was released the same day as the King novel Desperation, and the two novels featured many of the same characters; the two book covers were designed to be placed together to form a single picture.
Around the time of The Regulators' release, King said that there may be another Bachman novel left to be "found". Recently, King has stated that another Bachman book had been found, with the announcement soon afterwards that his unpublished novel Blaze was being rewritten, edited, and updated for a possible release. In February 2007 he confirmed that Scribner would be publishing this book in June 2007.
King has taken full ownership of the Bachman name on numerous occasions, as with the republication of the first four Bachman titles as The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King in 1985. The introduction, titled "Why I Was Bachman", details the whole Bachman/King story.
Richard Bachman appeared in King's Dark Tower series, albeit indirectly. In the fifth book, Wolves of the Calla, the sinister children's book Charlie the Choo Choo is revealed to be written by "Claudia y Inez Bachman". The spelling discrepancy of the added 'y' was later explained as a deus ex machina on the part of "The White" (a force of good throughout King's Tower series) to bring the total number of letters in her name to nineteen, a number prominent in King's series.
The original editions of the first four Bachman books are now among the world's most sought after original paperback novels, with resale prices in the hundreds of dollars.
After the Heath High School shooting, King announced that he would allow Rage to go out of print, fearing that it might inspire similar tragedies. Bachman's other novels are now available in separate volumes, although Rage is available in The Bachman Books, which is still in print in the United Kingdom.
Writer Stephen King, the master of horror novels, has come out with a new entry called "The Regulators" under his other pen name, Richard Bachman.(Loose Change)
Jan 01, 1997; Writer Stephen King, the master of horror novels, has come out with a new entry called "The Regulators" under his other pen name,...