JK Rowling’s secret book: magic or good marketing?

So J.K. Rowling wrote a crime book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It got some quite good reviews and sold a modest amount. Then someone ‘’outed’’ her as the author and, good heavens, interest in the book took off. By some extraordinary coincidence, a huge second run of the book had been ordered and its arrival in the bookshops was imminent. How lucky is that!

There were a few protests about the leaking of her identity,  moments of feigned outrage: ‘’who could have done such a terrible thing as leak the information?” At least one publisher felt compelled to admit she had turned down the book! Off with her head.

If JK Rowling wanted to write a book anonymously and see how it would be received , critically and sales wise, she now knows. If the leaking of  her identity as the real author of the book was part of a marketing ploy, it worked. Anyway, lots of good fun all round. There could be a book in it.

Below is what Rowling herself had to say: “I hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience! It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name. The upside of being rumbled is that I can publicly thank my editor David Shelley, who has been a true partner in crime, all those people at Little, Brown who have been working so hard on The Cuckoo’s Calling without realising that I wrote it, and the writers and reviewers, both in the newspapers and online, who have been so generous to the novel. And to those who have asked for a sequel, Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances.”


1 Comment

  1. It was a publicity stunt. I came up with the pen name J.K. Rowling while working on my Harry Potter books. “Malfoy” and an anagram for “of Amy L”…and that is me.


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