Of Pseudonyms and Success

Today I woke up to the news that J.K. Rowling had written another book – and it was one that I had already placed on hold months ago. To say that I felt like a little kid at Christmas was a bit of an understatement; Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood and teenage years, and I have so many good memories associated with the series. Rowling is one of the many authors whose works I’d gladly pick up without a second thought, which is why I’m certainly not surprised that she chose to publish her newest novel under a pseudonym.

“I hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” she said in a statement released by her publicist on Sunday. “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 Cuckoo’s Calling is a classic mystery novel written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith that tells the story of a war veteran who is now working as a private investigator. Published three months ago, it had sold a modest number of copies (~1500) and received glowing reviews from renowned crime fiction novelists. Even Publishers Weekly called it a “stellar debut.” With the revelation of the author’s true identity, it was inevitable that there would be a lot of interest in this book, which quickly moved to #1 on the Kindle charts.

I can’t help but wonder if this news will change the reading experience or the way that critics respond to this book.

What do you think? Is the way you view a book affected by who the author is?

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