JK Rowling, secret crime novelist

Earlier this year, debut author Robert Galbraith earned "fawning praise" for his crime novel, The Cuckoo's Calling. Despite the rave reviews, it didn't do very well, shifting only 1,500 copies. But something can be done about that: the real author is none other than JK Rowling, the world's most successful writer.

The revelation of Rowling's authorship is fascinating—not least for how the author of Harry Potter learned that pleasing critics can mean being ignored by readers.

"Being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” Rowling told The Sunday Times. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

Compare to her other post-Potter work, The Casual Vacancy, derided by the scribes as millions of copies leapt from the shelves. [Bloomberg]

Notable Replies

  1. Interesting.....as the saying goes.

    I liked the Potter books for the emotion and inventiveness of the stories. Rowling proved she has a knack for spinning tales. Her writing, on the other hand, was clunky, confusing, and downright hard to follow in many places....though she improved noticeably as the series went on. She wrecked the exposition with adverbs throughout...to a ludicrous level in some places. But the story lines and character arcs were very good overall.

    The Casual Vacancy was a total dud for me. The writing seemed almost as bad as her early Potter efforts, and the story was just plain boring. One of those books with little to recommend. I might have been projecting my distaste for her sophomoric writing style...but I really expected some clever storylines. She seemed out to prove that she's a true "writer" and forgot her real strength in story-telling. There's a good reason it got universally panned.

    Perhaps now she's back to form with story telling.

  2. Great job blowing her cover everyone. Now she needs to move on to another pen name, and soon another, eventually leading to entire bookstores filled with books only written by Rowling.

  3. Considering she has oodles of money, I probably would've kept that feather in my cap. Eventually having someone leak that it is me, and then neither confirming nor denying, for the fun of it all.

  4. Do you really think she cares about selling a few more books? (And 1,500 hardcover sales for a new author is actually pretty good.)

    She's got all the money and fame she could ask for — what she was obviously looking for were unbiased reviews of her post-Potter writing. That she definitely got, and she's probably pretty happy with the outcome (independently of whether she made a few more millions or not).

  5. She might not be bothered, but her publisher sure is.

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