…apparently doesn’t smell quite so sweet. Until you tell the person the flower is actually a rose, then suddenly it’s “Oh my how wonderful, I want to rub it allll over!”

This particular bit of snark is brought to you courtesy of the J.K. Rowling affair.  In case you hadn’t heard, the author of the Harry Potter series thought it might not be a bad idea, as many authors do, to see what the public reaction would be to her writing if she published a story under another name *gasp!*

The logic is actually pretty sound, and again many authors do it.  The rationale being: they’ve achieved a level of such success that should they release a book called “The Dictionary”, it would sell simply because their name was attached to it.  There is no way to tell for certain if this is a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes; perhaps the writing is bad, but no one wants to be the one to tell her.

CuckoosCallingCoverAnd so. Her new crime novel, “The Cuckoo’s Calling”, was published under the assumed name of Robert Galbraith.  Critics gave it high acclaim, applauding the writer’s style.

The public, however, yawned.  Released in April of 2013, the book had sold – prior to mid-July – 1,500 copies from the shelves, with a respectable but unheralded additional 7,000 copies in digital, audiobook, and library editions.  Not exactly a Goblet of Fire in sales.

Then, just like a modern and extremely uninteresting whodunit, along came a mystery – someone revealed who Robert Galbraith actually was! It turns out that one of Rowling’s lawyers told a trusted family friend over dinner conversation, and that trusted family friend then tweeted the damn thing to the blogosphere.   Note to self: client confidentiality means nothing once your lawyer leaves the office.

That said, once word got out…well. One week later and the book is now #1 on Amazon (a rapid climb from it’s previous perch at #4,709th place), and signed copies of the 1st edition are selling for as high as $4,000 on the resale market.

I’ll be lucky to get $4,000 in total sales of everything I write 😀

First: kudos to Rowling, because while I have not read the book myself I am tempted to simply from the early critic reviews.  Apparently the woman CAN write; brava!

But before we start shining up that pedestal, I can’t help but note that her book very likely wouldn’t even have been published if it hadn’t come from her to begin with.  She’d originally tried submitting it to a publisher anonymously and had it rejected.  Which says great, great things about the Mighty Publishing Houses. And by “great” I mean crappy.

Also: there is a mild briny scent wafting over the docks and hovering over this “scandal”.  I don’t want to cast aspersions, and everyone involves swears on a stack of Bibles (which clearly, in this case anyway, carries considerable more weight than the legal oath of admission to the bar) that This Was Not A Marketing Ploy, At All. Really. We Mean It.

And I Believe Them. Truly I Do.

I’m just sayin’, tho. She’s about to make yet another mint off this book, which again clap-clap-clap – no hate here, although I reserve the right to be a mild shade of green.

But if you see a bunch of cats slinking this way licking their chops and sniffing the air, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Cat With Fish