Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 35 – The Science of Pen Names with NY Times bestseller, Riley Sager

The Science of Pen Names

The Science of Pen Names with Riley Sager

Riley Sager understands the importance of a good pen name. By using a pseudonym to detach himself from his early writing career, bypass editing bias, and increase reader relatability, he quickly found success as a reborn author. Riley is renowned for his international bestseller, Final Girls, an unsettling thriller that won the attention of Stephen King. His other bestsellers include Lock Every Door and The Last Time I Lied, the latter of which has a film in the works. Sager’s latest publication, Home Before Dark, is available now.

From Amazon.com:

Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer. Now a full-time author, Riley’s first thriller, FINAL GIRLS, became a national and international bestseller and was called “the first great thriller of 2017” by Stephen King. Translation rights have been sold in more than two dozen countries. His second book, THE LAST TIME I LIED, was a New York Times bestseller. His latest novel, LOCK EVERY DOOR, was an instant New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA Today bestseller. A television adaptation is being developed by Paramount TV and Anonymous Content. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley now lives in Princeton, New Jersey. When he’s not working on his next novel, he enjoys reading, cooking and going to the movies as much as possible. His favorite film is “Rear Window.” Or maybe “Jaws.” But probably, if he’s being honest, “Mary Poppins.”

Whether you’re traditionally published or indie, writing a good book is only the first step in becoming a successful author. The days of just turning a manuscript into your editor and walking away are gone. If you want to succeed in today’s publishing world, you need to understand every aspect of the business – editing, formatting, marketing, contracts. It all starts with a good book, then the real work begins.

Join international bestselling author J.D. Barker and indie powerhouse, J. Thorn, as they gain unique insight and valuable advice from the most prolific and accomplished authors in the business.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How Riley chose his pen name
  • What Stephen King said about Final Girls
  • Why gender-neutral names can be more marketable
  • The importance of avoiding editing bias
  • Tips for outlining a complex story


J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Riley Sager – https://www.rileysagerbooks.com/

Final Girls by Riley Sager – https://books2read.com/FinalGirls

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager – https://books2read.com/TheLastTimeILied

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – https://books2read.com/HomeBeforeDark

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Contact – https://writersinkpodcast.com/contact/ 

“Muggable” quote by Harley Christensen – https://www.mischievousmalamute.com/

*Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.

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