Yet another famous author has taken the anonymous road to publishing. J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame has been revealed to be the author Robert Galbraith.
She is quoted as having said, “I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” she said in a statement. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”
The media, and perhaps some readers who are themselves authors, are wondering if this wasn’t a publicity stunt. After all, getting attention is a concern even for the biggest authors, especially after an author switches genres as Rowling did.
From the author’s side, there is of course the concern that all her works will be judged against the Potter series. Since she has moved into writing for adults and has already released one novel as her own for older readers, it might be an attempt by Rowling to get real feedback on her efforts.
From the publisher’s side, however, the “debut” novel was released on April 30 of this year. The revelation happened very near the end of the 90 day cycle that every book is subject to…if something isn’t selling well by the end of that time, bookstores often remove it from their shelves. Since the leak to the media happened at the end of this cycle when Galbraith’s novel would be returned to the publisher, it might have been a planned leak intended to keep the book on the shelves.
In the end, the effort has actually achieved both. Rowling has been able to step aside fully from her wizard roots with this work, and the leak has saved the publisher from having to eat the losses associated with a novel that until the revelation sold only about 1,500 copies in Britain.
I might start dropping hints that my books are written by celebrities to avoid the pesky returns cycle 🙂