We’ve all heard of J. K. Rowling, author of the wildly successful Harry Potter series. We all heard of her adult fiction attempt The Casual Vacancy which sold well because of her name and the curiosity of some fans. I doubt a second adult book would have done so well.
But authors are well known to try pen names from time to time. So newcomer, Robert Galbraith was credited with writing The Cuckoo’s Calling. Interestingly Galbraith was praised in some critical circles for his writing. And he didn’t sell well.
It was found out that Rowling was the person behind this pen name. I think it was no mistake. A publisher has a praised book by a nobody it can’t sell. But if it let slip that Rowling was behind it, the publisher could be counted on to make a fortune.
Maybe Rowling herself would prefer to stay anonymous to beat some of the pressure. If this is the case it seems to me she is at odds with her publishing company.
I’m going to assume she is indeed at odds with her publishing company. In that case, I suspect Rowling will be much more careful of her privacy the next time. The publishers are unworried.
Some in the artificial intelligence or advanced computing world like to write programs that analyze an author’s style. Imagine when they take all manuscripts emanating from Britain next year and see if they can positively ID the Harry Potter style in another book or series. It would be a coup for such software writers if they could out Rowling the next time she tries a new identity.
Or, what about those writing aficionados who think their wit is sharp enough to know an author’s style from book to book without having to resort to computers. If one of these manages to out Rowling, their wit would be praised by many.
Such strong incentives for these two groups leads me to believe that Rowling will be outed yet again. The poor woman. Must she pay forever for having once written the Harry Potter series? What a heavy, heavy, billion dollar yoke to have around one’s neck.