His first novel, Carrie, was such a smash hit that it was adapted by Brian De Palma into a movie starring John Travolta, and King was concerned that people were buying his books more because of the power of marketing and name recognition than because they were any good. Surely, the bubble would eventually burst, and he would pull a Shyamalan decades before Shyamalan ...
So, King decided to perform an experiment to see whether he could start fresh and replicate the success of Carrie all over again. His fourth novel, Rage, was published in deep cover under a pseudonym: Richard Bachman.
And behind a cover that suggests a Harlequin romance gone horribly wrong.
At King's request, the only people who knew that he was Bachman were his editor and publisher, and, in every other sense, it was to be treated like some unknown hack writer's first novel. That meant as little promotion as possible -- just throwing it out into the discount section of a few bookstores and seeing what would happen.