So, I know this is no longer quite breaking news, but it’s still fascinating news to me. Especially considering that I just finished and reviewed The Casual Vacancy…
This lovely lady, J.K. Rowling has been outed as having published a book under the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. This book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was published in the spring pretty quietly. And I mean quietly as compared to some other books I’ve seen. On Goodreads, there are only 345 ratings at the time I am writing this post. That’s compared to the tens of thousands of ratings popular books published the same month have already.
I cannot blame Rowling for trying to publish under a pseudonym. After the mixed reception of The Casual Vacancy (with so many people crying out that it’s nothing like Harry Potter!), who can place blame? Honestly, I wish it had stuck…but here’s where it gets particularly interesting.
There’s a growing conspiracy surrounding how this pseudonym was discovered. Sometime over the past weekend, a news outlet received a tweet concerning Galbraith. After some research, it was discovered that it was curious that Galbraith and Rowling had the same editor and publisher. Just like with any media rolling ball, the news broke and admissions came out, that Galbraith was in fact actually Rowling. (A strange transition given that Galbraith had been described on publication materials as a male veteran.)
The conspiracy is that the book had actually been struggling. I don’t think that that is difficult to see even to someone outside of the publishing and bookselling industry (see my ratings comment above). I have also read that the timing of this revelation, both within the actual day of the week and the overall lifespan of the book, is increasingly suspicious. However, Little, Brown and Rowling have both denied that this was all actually a publicity stunt to save what would have otherwise been a floundering novel.
Again, do I blame them? No. If it was a publicity stunt, whatever. It’s a better stunt than some others out there trying to get money off of what they really probably shouldn’t, at least ethically speaking (see the Zimmerman juror B37’s ‘book deal’ or even OJ Simpson’s book a couple of years ago). So I think in the scheme of things, this isn’t that big of a deal in terms of the reason behind it.
I totally have fallen for this trap though. Had I even heard of the The Cuckoo’s Calling before? Nope. Do I now really want to go get a copy of it? Yes. It’s J.K. friggen Rowling, the architect of my childhood whimsy! It is now on my to-read list, once of course all those new copies have been rush printed. (If you want to try your chances, there’s a Goodreads’ giveaway up for this book.)
For more interesting news, definitely look into the impact that this is having on booksellers. If people really want a book they can’t get a physical copy of, will they wait for the bookseller to get it or will they go get the ebook version? Like I said, this is definitely an interesting piece of news.
And I highly recommend following Publishers Weekly on Twitter…it’s really thanks to them that I found all this out.