• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • The Surprising Personal Branding Power of Pen Names

    At first glance, building the personal brand of a fake person doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    After all, the best personal brands are authentic, based on real people letting their personalities show their uniqueness.

    Fake personal brands tend to lose all credibility once they’re exposed as fake, because no one likes to be fooled.

    However, there actually is one powerful way to leverage a pen name for building your personal brand, as a very famous author once showed.

    Who is Richard Bachman?

    King fan by Arjen Toet.From 1977 through 1985, Richard Bachman authored multiple science fiction books, one of which (The Running Man) went on to become a Hollywood blockbuster with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    There was just one little thing: Richard Bachman didn’t actually exist.

    Richard Bachman was an invention of horror fiction author Stephen King.

    Why did King, already a well-known author and the owner of a very strong personal brand, feel the need to hide behind Richard Bachman?

    Ironically, it was BECAUSE he was already a well-known author and the owner of a very strong personal brand that he felt the need to create the pen name Richard Bachman.

    According to Wikipedia, King created Richard Bachman for 2 reasons, one practical and one personal:

    1. 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; publishing more would not be acceptable to the public. King therefore wanted to write under another name, in order to increase his publication without over-saturating the market for the King “brand.”
    2. In his introduction to The Bachman Books, King does state that Bachman was also 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.

    Using the Richard Bachman pen name also allowed Stephen King to:

    • Test a different genre of writing than he was used to (science fiction)
    • Reduce the risk of harming his own personal brand, which then was only associated with mega-successful horror fiction
    • Avoid angering his loyal fans by appearing to turn away from them
    • Take his personal brand to a higher level, once he could associate any success of Richard Bachman with his own

    Put differently- if his Richard Bachman experiment had failed, no one would know that Stephen King had just failed too.

    Once Richard Bachman was a success – selling tens of thousands of books – revealing who he actually was grew Stephen King’s personal brand to new heights.

    Before Richard Bachman, everyone knew that Stephen King was a great horror fiction author.

    After Richard Bachman, everyone now knew that Stephen King was just a great author. Period.

    Author:

    Jacob Share, a job search expert, is the creator of JobMob, one of the biggest blogs in the world about finding jobs. Follow him on Twitter for job search tips and humor.

    Jacob Share, a job search expert, is the creator of JobMob, one of the biggest blogs in the world about finding jobs. Follow him on Twitter for job search tips and humor.

    Tagged with: , , ,
    Posted in Personal Branding, Positioning
    Content Partners
    As Seen In