The Rowling Ruckus

July 26, 2013

So by now I’m sure you’ve heard all about the not-so-new J.K. Rowling book.

If not, let me bring you up to speed:

Back in April, J.K. Rowling quietly published The Cuckoo’s Calling, an old-school detective novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It got pretty good reviews and sold reasonably well for a book by an unknown author. Then, somehow Rowling’s identity as Galbraith (or Galbraith’s identity as Rowling?) got out.

With enough distance, it appears the leak originated from the law firm representing Rowling, but at the time there was talk of super-observant (or dedicated) individuals noticing that Rowling and Galbraith shared an editor and publishing company and subsequently uncovering similarities in the writing styles present in The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Casual Vacancy. In any case, once Rowling was outed, she confirmed that she had, indeed, written the book as Galbraith.

Some have suggested that it was a marketing ploy, pointing to skyrocketing sales after the leak of Rowling’s role as author, but I really think that’s unlikely. Of course the sales soared; that’s to be expected, but it’s not like she needs the money.

J.K. Rowling is a billionaire (the first to become one through writing, I might add — this according to something I read on the internet that may or may not be reputable and I can’t remember where I saw it in order to check my sources. Let’s all agree that I’m a terrible academic/information professional and move on, shall we?).

Rowling has stated that she wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling under a pseudonym because she wanted to write without the pressure of other expectations. Thinking back to the hype leading up to the release of The Casual Vacancy, I can certainly understand that desire and I kind of wish that she’d been able to keep up the pseudonym a bit longer (both for her sake and because it would be so much more explosive when she revealed herself down the line). I find it interesting that her chosen pseudonym is male. I’m sure there is plenty that could be read into that, especially given her history (she was advised to use initials so that readers would not be put off by a book with a male protagonist written by a female author).

Anyway, I, like everyone else, heard about this book and immediately looked up the blurb. And, well, it looks really good. So I requested it from my public library branch… Along with what feels like half of New York. I am currently number 322 on the hold list for 26 copies. I don’t totally know how collection development works in public libraries of NYPL’s size, but it’s possible that they may acquire more copies since the book is in such high demand.

All of this hullabaloo also reminded me that I haven’t actually gotten around to reading The Casual Vacancy. Interestingly, I was able to get that from NYPL immediately. There’s probably a backed up hold list now, so I’ll need to read it before my loan period is up, but I felt a nice little surge of victory in beating that particular rush. So I’ll be reading and reviewing that in the (somewhat) near future.

I’ve also got a few other galleys and library books going, so stay tuned for a few other reviews.

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One Response to “The Rowling Ruckus”

  1. Amy Lee said

    The release was planned. I made up the pseudonym J.K. Rowling while creating ideas for Harry Potter. Robert also happens to be my father’s first name.

    Over the years I created many pseudonyms/pen names such as James Cameron for the actor Earl Cameron who appeared in the 1965 James Bond film “Thunderball” (James Bond + Earl Cameron).

    I also created the name Tom Clancy for actors Tom Cruise who starred in Top Gun which I worked on script ideas and Clancy Brown who appeared in Highlander which I also worked on script ideas. This was while I was working on ideas for my Jack Ryan character. The name of “Jack” (Titanic) is a name I liked to use often for characters and “Ryan” for actress Meg Ryan who appeared in Top Gun.

    “Malfoy” is an anagram for “of Amy L”…and that is me.

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