As you no doubt know by now, J.K. Rowling has written a mystery novel, The Cukoo’s Calling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It was well received. People like reading it. They looked forward to reading more in the series. It good decent reviews. No one disliked it on principal for being written by J.K. Rowling . No one who compared it to Harry Potter. At least, until the news was leaked barely two months after it was published.
Obviously this was never going to be a secret forever, but Rowling has revealed that the information was leaked through her lawyers. One of the firms partners had told his wife’s best friend in:
a) strictest confidence
b)breach of client confidentiality and
c) in breach of presumably half a dozen other guidelines lawyers are supposed to adhere to.
This friend then, in somewhat less strict confidence, told a Sunday Times journalist through Twitter. After that, all cats were out of bags.
Having it revealed by her lawyers is a particularly painful breach of trust. You’d expect Rowling to sue; these are, after all, her lawyers and they’ve admitted responsibility to leaking the information. In these circumstances, people would normally sue for damages for loss of income, among other things, but here the breach of client confidentiality actually lead to an increase in profit. Clearly profit wasn’t Rowling’s aim in writing as Galbraith; if she wrote motivated by money then she’d have published under her own name in the first place. Or she’d just keep writing Harry Potter stories.
I imagine that writing as Galbraith was a means for her to remove the public expectation of ‘The Next J.K Rowling Novel’ and to have the pleasure and freedom of writing returned. It does make you wonder if this will be Rowling’s last pseudonym. I would think she’ll write continue to write Cormoran Strike books as Galbraith, but if she has other stories she wants to tell, will she adopt a second or series of pseudonyms to write under?
If Rowling were looking to write with complete anonymity, I wonder if she would self publish under a pseudonym? Have someone hire a marketing firm to help it gain traction and reviews and engage with critics and readers with no one carrying the heavy weight of ‘being determined to love/hate the next J.K. Rowling novel’.
Who knows, maybe she already has. Oh, and please don’t worry that I’ll end with either speculation or revelation that I’m J.K. Rowling. I won’t and I am not. But maybe I’ve read something by her recently and didn’t even know it.