JK Rowling's unmasking boosts sales of The Cuckoo's Calling
Just a few days after JK Rowling was unmasked as the author behind crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling sales of the book have more than tripled.
The writer, who cast a spell over the publishing industry with her boy wizard franchise Harry Potter, had hoped to keep the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, under which The Cuckoo’s Calling was published, a secret for longer.
Nielsen BookScan data reveals that 17,662 hardback copies of the novel, published three months ago, were sold between 14 and 20 July, up from just 43 copies the previous week.
JK Rowling was identified as the book’s author by a national newspaper last week.
She revealed that 8,500 English language copies in all formats had been sold prior to her unmasking. However, The Bookseller reported that fewer than 500 copies of the hardback copy were sold in its first three months.
The 450 page novel has been likened to the works of prolific crime fiction writers Ruth Rendell and PD James. The whodunit, featuring war veteran-turned- private- investigator Cormoran Strike, garnered a number of positive reviews when first published.
The Times described it as: “A scintillating novel set in the world of models, rappers, fashion designers, druggies and illicit liaisons.”
Publishers Weekly deemed it “a rare feat” in which “Galbraith combines a complex and compelling sleuth and an equally well-formed and unlikely assistant with a baffling crime."
On website Robert-Galbraith.com Rowling explains why she decided to publish the book under a pseudonym: “I’ve always loved reading detective fiction. Most of the Harry Potter stories are whodunits at heart (Order of the Phoenix is more of a why-did-he), but I’ve wanted to try the real thing for a long time.”
“As for the pseudonym, I was yearning to go back to the beginning of a writing career in this new genre, to work without hype or expectation and to receive totally unvarnished feedback. It was a fantastic experience and I only wish it could have gone on a little longer.”
Rowling denied that revealing the book’s true author was part of an “elaborate marketing campaign to help boost sales” and said that if anyone had seen the “labyrinthine plans” she had laid to conceal her identity “they would realise how little I wanted to be discovered”.
She said: “This was not a leak or marketing ploy by me, my publisher or agent, both of whom have been completely supportive of my desire to fly under the radar. If sales were what mattered to me most, I would have written under my own name from the start, and with the greatest fanfare.”
When Rowling published her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, last year it sold 124,603 copies in its first week.
Rowling will continue to publish Cormoran Strike fiction under the name Robert Galbraith.
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