J.K. Rowling’s New Book is the Talk of the Town!

The Cuckoo's Calling             The Cuckoo's Calling2
I’m sure everyone is almost sick of hearing about this already, Twitter has been in a storm, Goodreads close behind and the book in question has zoomed straight to the number one spot on the Amazon bestsellers list.
So what does one more little blogger’s opinion matter? Not that much, but this is a book blog after all and like many I am a childhood J.K Rowling fan, so it would be criminal not to even mention it, right?!

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The Cuckoo’s Calling was originally published in April with the author name Robert Galbraith. Masquerading as a debut novel the story was said to follow a war veteran turned investigator who looked into the death of a famous model.

It wasn’t long though before people became a little suspicious, professionals noted that the novel seemed more polished than the average beginners and some of the prose seemed more feminine than would be expected from a male author.

Yesterday the truth was finally revealed, Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym created by J.K. Rowling.

Unlike some I wasn’t immediately surprised by the news. When The Casual Vacancy was released and all the hype was building around it I couldn’t help but feel a pang of sympathy for J.K. Rowling, the pressure must have been intense from both the public and critics. When you’re put up on a pedestal it’s a long way to fall. (Although I shouldn’t feel too sorry, she’s laughing her way to the bank.)
For this reason, the thought had occurred to me that she should release a book under a fake name. So my first thoughts were pretty much: J.K. Rowling, you BOSS. 😀
I’m so pleased that she got away with it, at least for a little while! I think it’s so respectable that she wanted her book to stand on its own two feet, to see what the public would think of The Cuckoo’s Calling without any preconceived ideas. Of course, the publishers always knew they would have the name reveal on their side if the sales figures lagged, and the mystery reveal is a great way to create a buzz around a book, but I think the point is most authors wouldn’t bother to go to the trouble. They would use their name to cash in rather than trying to hide it.

I love the front cover and will be jumping on the bandwagon like a good little sheep. You know I can’t resist buying anything by J.K. Rowling, although getting around to reading it is another matter, I still haven’t read The Casual Vacancy… I’m a little scared, but I must attempt it eventually! The Cuckoo’s Calling is supposed to be the first in a series, so hopefully we will once again find some great characters to fall in love with that are entirely different from Harry Potter but just as compelling. 🙂

Of course the question remains how much of this was pre-planned. Was the leaking of the truth really a leak? Or was it always intended for the truth to come out this summer when everyone was looking for their perfect relaxing read?

~ * ~

What do you think of J.K. Rowling’s dramatic book reveal? Will you be trying her latest book? 🙂

For further information check out my budd Victoria’s post here on The Cuckoo’s Calling and the history of pseudonyms!

Image Sources:
Book Cover Blue: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17684326-the-cuckoo-s-calling
Book Cover Grey: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16160797-the-cuckoo-s-calling

48 thoughts on “J.K. Rowling’s New Book is the Talk of the Town!

    • One should consider sales figures before the reveal rather than reviews. Famous authors regularly get bad reviews. Some critics see it as their mission in life to bring those authors down a peg.

      • That’s a good point kokkieh, I don’t think they’ve released them yet as I didn’t come across them anywhere, but it was vaguely mentioned that it sold reasonably well. Obviously not well enough for most of us to be aware of the books existence before the reveal though!

        One thing’s for sure, the sales will skyrocket now.

      • That makes me think of Shakespeare: What is in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Except where famous authors are concerned.

      • Ha, true!

        I do tend to follow my favourite author’s works though rather than genre. So even if an author I like starts in fantasy and changes to horror I would still want to check it out. 🙂

    • I heard that it got some really good reviews too and that some critics had praised it (although I have no idea who those critics were or how much knowledge they have). I’m so glad she managed to get that positive boost before her name was revealed! 🙂

  1. I don’t know, I’m not much for traditional mystery so I probably won’t read it. I gave The Casual Vacancy a good-hearted try, but it bored me to tears. It wasn’t so much that I expected it to be anything like HP, but it was VERY British – and being from the US, I couldn’t understand a lot of the dialect, and it felt like nothing was happening.

    • I’m not a particularly big mystery fan either, but then again I’ve never really tried them. It has never been a genre I’ve gravitated too but I’ve got a few stacked up on my shelf now. I’m definitely willing to give Cuckoo’s Calling a go though. 🙂

      Ohh no! I’m sorry to hear that. It’s interesting that the British barrier was an issue, being British it of course never occurs to me as an issue in J.K. Rowling’s work, I’ll have to look out for that! I never tend to have an issue with American books but then we have so much American TV etc over here so that’s probably why.

      I hope I like it more than you did. :S

  2. Crime’s not really my thing (unless it’s Conan Doyle or Asimov), so I probably wouldn’t have picked it up either way. You make a good point about the perfect timing for the reveal, though. I wouldn’t put anything past a marketer.

    • I’m not big on crime either but I do have some Conan Doyle to try and a few other books. Even though I don’t like it much I keep going back to give it another chance because I think it’s good to read a variety of genres. Maybe Rowling will finally sell it to me. 🙂

      It does seem a bit too convenient!

      • Sherlock Holmes aside, I like crime if it’s combined with another genre, like Asimov does with the Elijah Bailey novels (SF in this case). But straight up detective novels? Stay away. Ironically, crime series are my favourite to watch on TV.

      • You know, thinking about it I think I am the same! Crime combined with something else is much more interesting. 🙂
        The same goes for TV series for me, my favourite crime ones e.g. Castle are always ones that combine a lot more of the characters personal lives rather than just crime itself.

  3. lol – I was reading about this and looked at some of the reviews on Amazon before people knew it was Rowling. Sounds like there is nothing new there (for a mystery) but the characters are really fleshed out and descriptions are amazing.
    I thought the same thing you did about Casual Vacancy. A lot of authors change their name when they write in a different genre, just to indicate “this isn’t what you are used to under my other name” and thought she should do that too. Even if it was transparent.
    With Cuckoo’s they said some publishers she peddled it to turned it down (or they say they did, big marketing spin now? not sure) simply because there wasn’t anything new or a hook to the mystery. I HOPE it was all real and a small publisher will now do well for “taking a chance” on a new though fake author. It says Mulholland Books, never heard of them.
    I will read it eventually. 🙂 Too big a “scandal” not too.

    • Haha Funny enough I did the same thing, great minds think alike. 😉 I know what you mean, I don’t read many mystery/crime type novels but even I noticed the ex-army-of-some-sort-turned-detective-trope. Of course just because something is overused doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad, and hopefully Rowling’s characters will make the novel shine! 🙂
      You’re right, it’s often used when a famous author change genre. I think it’s a great way for them to get a few new fans and a bit more respect!

      Hmm you see this is where I get confused! I read on an article that it was published and edited by the SAME people who produced Rowling’s other books (The Little Brown Book Group) and yet at the same time there have also been articles/people saying she gave it to publishers under the fake name and was rejected a few times. Now I don’t know about you, but that seems to suggest two different stories to me and unless I am missing something seems a little fishy. Perhaps someone will be able to explain it better in time!

      Hehee same, thanks for the long comment! 😀

  4. I have always thought JKR would make a great murder mystery writer – one of her real strengths in the Potter books were the little clues she left lying around. She’s brilliant at it.

    • You know it’s odd before I wrote this I was wondering why she had decided to sway towards mystery, but now that you’ve said that it actually makes a lot of sense! She was so great at weaving a twisting tale with a big reveal at the end, so mystery could work really well for her. 😀

      P.S. Thanks for the classics group link on Goodreads.

  5. I’m actually a little disappointed that her name was leaked so quickly. She must have been absolutely desperate to release something without having her own famous name attached.

    The fever pitch around The Casual Vacancy, then the subsequent bad reviews, was almost ridiculous. As a Potter uber-fan myself, I’ve held off from reading it because I know I’m going to have too many expectations.

    It makes you wonder, would The Cuckoo’s Calling have had such good reviews if it was her name to begin with? It must be daunting knowing that your name will be forevermore linked to a famous (albeit fantastic) book series. The pressure must be extraordinary!

    I can’t help but think “good on you J.K!” I also agree with Tony. Based on Potter, she was always going to make a good mystery writer. If it opens up people to a new genre then I suppose I can’t complain.

    • Me too, I wish she could have kept the anonymity for a little longer like you say, it must have been such a relief feeling less judged and pinpointed by critics and the media!

      I had a little peek on Goodreads yesterday and noticed The Casual Vacancy is around the 3 stars mark for its overall rating, so it looks like a lot of people really did hate it! I too have held off reading it. I don’t think I would have an issue with the HP comparison but I’ve been told it’s quite depressing so I’m waiting for when I’m in the mood to read it. 🙂

      You’re so right! It does make me wonder, I’m sure there would have been tonnes of debate over it because people would have had such high expectations! No doubt we have that to come anyway, but hopefully people will treat the book with slightly more respect now that she’s done this. The crazy thing is, some people are so outraged by being tricked! I don’t understand that at all…

      Me too! It must have been scary as well as fun to fake her name for this book. I’m so pleased she did it. 🙂

  6. I’d imagine that the pressure to reveal it came from the publisher rather than JK herself. She’s rich enough already to be able to get by without needing everything to be a smash hit, whilst the publishing company would’ve been having kittens at the thought of upsetting their shareholders by not hitting their next quarterly profit target.

    Stephen King did something similar in the 70s/80s by publishing some books under the name Richard Bachman, and I remember reading something about where he thought the publishers were too hasty to reveal the truth.

    I don’t really see anything wrong with either writing under a different name or revealing the truth.

    • I recall Dean Koontz wrote under a dozen different names as well, because his publishers didn’t think people would ‘get it’ if he wrote in a different genre. We’re only plebs (or maybe Proles) and have no brains to work it out…

    • I agree Michael, I don’t think J.K would have had any intention of revealing the name for quite a while. It is likely that it either really was leaked (as articles claim), or more likely with bookshops struggling and as you say companies wanting to hit their profit targets that they would have put the pressure on her to reveal it, or the company may have revealed it behind her back! It was said a Twitter account leaked it and then the account was deleted so they couldn’t trace the source. Very fishy. But then again maybe I’m just being a cynic…either way, it’s a great publicity stunt and they’ve got what they wanted because we’re all talking about it.

      I imagine that must have been very liberating for him too! I know some critics make it their life’s work to try and bring him down, lol. Thanks for the interesting tidbit, I had no idea! 🙂 I bet they were, it’s hard to pass up the amount of money you can earn off a popular author.

      I don’t either, I think it can be very useful, 🙂 some have taken offense to it though which I think was a bit silly. The author is only doing what is right for them!

  7. Pretty covers. I’d say it was bound to come out at some point. I’m sure sales have picked up big time since the reveal much to the publisher’s happiness.

    • I agree I love the cover Emma, especially the blue one, the artwork is so mysterious and the colour scheme really works. 🙂

      Haha I agree! Judging by Goodreads nearly everyone is marking it as to-read or are determined to buy it soon.

  8. I don’t blame her in the least for trying to pull a fast one on us. Lots of authors write under pseudonyms, so why can’t she? I think I will try it next after I finish the 4th Game of Thrones book, but like I said earlier today, I sure hope it’s better than The Casual Vacancy!!

    • I don’t either! Although it seems some are upset about it. I’m just so glad to see J.K. back again in the writing world and I hope she gets lots more positive reviews. 🙂

      Oooh that soon? Awesome I can’t wait to see what you think! As you know with me, it will probably be a while before I pick it up, but I will be purchasing it soon!

      I hope you enjoy this book more. 😀

  9. Pingback: On names (and what they smell like) « if all else fails...use a hammer

  10. Seriously what rock do I live under since I didn’t hear anything about this until I read your blog. I feel for her. the pressure has to suck.

    • No way, really?! Hehe at least you know now. 🙂 To be fair I found out quickly because I use Twitter a lot and I saw a comment about it. Otherwise it probably would have taken me a while to catch on!

      The pressure must be unimaginable, I’m glad she got a break from it, even if it was only for a little while. 🙂

  11. The Cuckoo’s Calling seems more interesting than The Casual Vacancy. I still haven’t read this one though. I totally understand why she released it under another name. She must be so tired of all the hype and the media going crazy every time she releases a new novel. Plus, she wanted to know what the critiques really think about her novels. I wished she remained hidden for a longer period of time. But then again, I wouldn’t have been excited to read the book.

    • Haha I guess it is a matter of opinion because strangely to me The Casual Vacancy seems more intriguing, how funny. 🙂 I haven’t read either yet.
      I totally agree! I know if I were in her shoes I would be so fed up with the constant spotlight and pressure to live up to her worldwide popular series. It can’t be easy.

      That is very true, if this novel wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling I am positive I never would have picked up on it, even with the pretty cover. The blurb doesn’t make much of an effort to sell it or make it sounds fresh. I don’t normally go for mystery novel either…

  12. I have a lot of sympathy for her – anything after HP must be hard to beat in terms of success. Not sure if I’d read the Cuckoo’s Calling – I actually didn’t dig HP that much.

    • Me too – While HP is a great achievement, it’s also a big burden to bear. I’m glad she managed to get away with it for a little while. 🙂
      Ohh really? That’s interesting, I’m from the Harry Potter generation so as a bookworm I’ve always been surrounded by it. Sometimes I wonder how I would feel if I was introduced to it later in life…

      Thanks for commenting!

  13. Whhaatttttt?? This is such news to me! Good for her! It does pose a conundrum though…if I buy the book do I still to alphabetical order and put it under her fake name, or put it with her other books? Because lets be honest, I’m going to go out and buy this.

    • Ohhh good! I like it when I’ve been able to be helpful. 😛
      Haha ohh the dilemma’s of a bookworm. 🙂 I would put it under Rowling myself because she’s the one that truly wrote it and I would always associate it with her rather than the pseudonym.

      I hope you enjoy the book! I will definitely be buying it as well.

  14. Sheeps go ‘baaaa’ and I shall be bleating too because I think the entire masquerade is just utterly brilliant and, like you say, good on her for doing it. It must be so nice for her to receive feedback for the book without any preconceptions. However, it’s also incredibly brave. I can’t WAIT to read it and….going back to cover art again, the cover (on the left) is top notch).

    • Hahaaa so glad to hear you’re going to be a sheep too! 🙂 I was quite surprised actually by the number of people I’ve encountered who have said they won’t read it.
      I’m so happy she got the opportunity to do this too, I think she really deserved a break, all that pressure can’t be easy.

      Hehee the left hand cover is my favourite too, it’s got such a classy, mysterious feel about it that I love. Although the other is still well done as a general rule I don’t seem to like real people on book covers – strange by true!

  15. After all the hype and criticism she received for the Casual vacancy, I’m not surprised she did it this way. I was actually entertaining the thought of pseudonyms myself when I heard about this. My question is: How did she come up with Robert Galbraith????? 😀

    • I agree, people were all over The Casual Vacancy when it was first released, it must have been so stressful for Rowling.
      Pseudonyms are awesome because you can come up with some really great ones! You should do a blog post on it, I love seeing how people try to come up with them. 🙂 I’ve considered it too, but only in passing not seriously because uh, I would need a book first. 😛 But I think my name would look naff on a book cover so that’s why I thought of it.
      I would like to know that too! Judging by the effort Rowling puts into her character names I bet there’s a really cool reason behind it. 😀

      • I will be doing a blogpost on it but more to discuss the concept. When that post will come out though, is another story, 😛 I’m swamped with essays at the mo. Ugh.
        I think you have an awesome name : it has a nice ring to it and will look cool on a cover. Plus it’s easy to pronounce which is a big plus in my opinion 🙂

      • Oooh awesome, I look forward to it. 🙂

        That’s so funny, I was just about to ask you how all the education fun was going. Sounds very stressful! I hope it lets up soon and that there are at least some interesting assignments in there along with the boring taxing ones. 😉 I’m dreading returning to the world of knowledge, it’s good because it challenges me but gosh is it stressful!

        Thank you. 🙂 I guess none of us think our names are special enough to be paraded around, but then I’m sure many authors feel that way and it’s only the public that see the names as interesting or good, lol!

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