|A famous name|
Joanne Rowling published her first adult novel, A Casual Vacancy, last year with Little, Brown (of which Sphere is an imprint), under her own name and received quite a lot of flak from reviewers. I don't in the least blame her for trying another route with her first crime novel. But did she? Cynical speculation is rife on the Net that the release of this information three months later was a calculated marketing ploy.
I would like not to believe that of Rowling, towards whom I am generally well-disposed.
Still, this post is not about her but the thousands of extra readers who have bought Galbraith's book since the news broke. What is the mentality here? I haven't bought it myself because I don't want detective fiction in hardback or on my Kindle. but I might when it is paperbacked.
Not because it is by J K Rowling but because the reviews make it sound good and - here's the crucial bit - I hadn't seen any of these reviews until the author was outed.
Presumably the hundreds of thousands of new purchasers (and they are bound to rise before I can even put this post up) thought "Ooh, I love JK" or "I love Harry Potter" or even "I really enjoyed A Casual Vacancy"?
Once a certain number has been reached, the sales bonanza finds its own momentum.
What will happen in future ? Will the Cormoran Strike series be labelled "J.K.Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith"? The way that some books tell you they are "by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine"? (I buy all those).
What I find a bit odd is "Robert Galbraith's" biography on the Sphere site:
"Born in 1968, Robert Galbraith is married with two sons. After several years with the Royal Military Police, he was attached to the SIB (Special Investigation Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMP. He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry. The idea for protagonist Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who have returned to the civilian world. 'Robert Galbraith' is a pseudonym."
Should it perhaps have added "This biography is a work of fiction"?
I'm interested that J K Rowling should have invented not just her pseudonym but a whole back story for him, as if he had been one of her characters.
I remember E.V. Lucas's anecdote about W.P.Ker; when told that William Sharp dressed up in women's clothes when writing "Fiona McLeod's" poems, Ker exclaimed, "the bitch!"
Do we feel deceived? What do you think?
|Photo credit: Daniel Ogren|