Today, I woke up to the news that J. K Rowling has published a crime novel called ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ under the name Robert Galbraith. Published about three months ago, the book has so far sold about 1,500 copies in hardback and tells the story of a war veteran turned private investigator. The publisher’s website confirmed that Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym but the true identity of the author has only just been revealed today.
Publishing work under a false name is a shrewd move for J. K. Rowling although perhaps not entirely unexpected. I am really pleased that she has now had some fair and unbiased reviews of her writing as it was obvious that no matter how hard people tried to read ‘The Casual Vacancy’ objectively, it was always inevitable that the shadow of her success with Harry Potter would be hanging over it. I still haven’t read ‘The Casual Vacancy’ and I admit to having been a bit wary of it due to the mixed reviews. ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’, on the other hand, has received more or less unanimously positive reviews including several from renowned crime fiction writers. I now wonder how many people will read the book “differently” with the knowledge that Robert Galbraith isn’t in fact a début author but one of the most successful writers of all time. It is inevitable that there will be a lot of interest in the book which had only sold a modest number of copies up until now. ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ has already jumped from 4231 to 210 in the amazon.co.uk Kindle chart since the news was announced and I am pretty sure it will be somewhere near the top by the end of the day. I am not rushing out to buy it, just like I didn’t rush out to buy ‘The Casual Vacancy’, but I am open to reading both of them in the future. What do you think? Does an author’s identity really matter?