Friday, July 26, 2013

JK Rowling & The Cuckoo's Calling: Publicity Stunt?

Update: I KNEW I could trust and rely on JK Rowling! Because this information just came in: She sued the company that revealed her info, settled out of court, and is now donating ALL (yes, you heard right!) ALL royalties from "The Cuckoo's Calling" to the Soldiers' Charity! I LOVE HER SO MUCH. I don't think there can be a doubt anymore that this was a publicity stunt (as if there ever was :D). I am just so happy now, and I heard of this on her birthday, July 31! 

No. NO NO NO NO NO. Let me say it again. NO.

But I know that many of you out there might be a bit skeptical. I mean, not all of you can be expected to be huge JK Rowling fans :D It's understandable. And maybe I am a bit biased. But I have solid facts to back me up on the fact that this was not a publicity stunt, and I'm going to share them with you.

But after reading this article., I hope you realize that isn't not understandable anymore if you believe this was a stunt.

Here's the proof. This is how JK Rowling got revealed to be Robert Galbraith, author of "The Cuckoo's Calling." And I'm going to be getting a bit angry in the end, so stay tuned! Woo!

First, it started with Judith Callegari. (The 'statements' listed below come from the Twitter account of Lizo Mzimba, reporter for the BBC, where you can still see them right now. I shall instead be directing to this link where the statements are listed in full, non-choppy-Tweet form.)

Maybe it all started with Chris Gossage, a Partner in JK Rowling's law firm, Russells Solicitors. As a part of JK Rowling's law firm, he did indeed know of Rowling's pseudonymous identity as Robert Galbraith. And, sorry to say, he couldn't keep a secret.

In a conversation with his wife's best friend, Judith Callegari, Chris Gossage revealed the tantalizing information that "The Cuckoo's Calling" was in fact written by JK Rowling herself.

Here is the full statement by Russels Solicitors:

"We, Russells Solicitors, apologise unreservedly for the disclosure...caused by one of our Partners, Chris Gossage, in revealing to his wife’s best friend, Judith Callegari, during a private conversation that the true identity of Robert Galbraith was in fact JK Rowling. Whilst accepting his own culpability, the disclosure...was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly. On becoming aware of the circumstances, we immediately notified JK Rowling’s...agent. We can confirm that this leak was not part of any marketing plan and that neither JK Rowling...her agent nor publishers were in any way involved"

Now, I frankly don't like doing this kind of stuff that I'm doing now. Naming names. Giving companies and people a bad name. But as this is SUCH a big deal (global headlines) and people just DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, the blame is going towards the wrong person (Jo Rowling). The facts must be stated. So sorry, Ms. Callegari and Mr. Gossage.

Now, how did Ms. Callegari reveal the details? Well, The Sunday Times posted something on Twitter to the accordance that they didn't believe "The Cuckoo's Calling" could have been written by a debut novel - it was too good! This is just normal praise. But Ms. Callegari tweeted in reply that it was not by a debut author, it was in fact by JK Rowling, and then proceeded to delete that Tweet and her entire account.

Obviously, as a news group, The Sunday Times did its own research after the tip, and this TIME article shows how the forensic linguist discovered her true identity. It's a pretty cool read. Anyway, they found out, and the whole truth got revealed, and the rest is history.

This was her (second, I think?) statement in reaction to the reveal:

"I have today discovered how the leak about Robert's true identity occurred...A tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of... prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know...To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells...a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced."

JK Rowling understates her own emotions. She's also classy. She doesn't single out people for her hate. So when she says she feels "very angry" and "disappointed" make sure you know that she is PISSED.

So that is exactly how it happened. But, obviously, there are still skeptics. "It's all a conspiracy, after all!" So here's some evidence for the rest of you.

I am proud to say that I've watched and read many, MANY, MANY JK Rowling interviews. I think I've watched every YouTube interview there is, and even more script interviews. This is hours and hours of information. So trust me when I say that I know her almost as much as anyone can from behind the computer. (But I don't know her address or shoe size or anything creepy-stalkerish, so don't worry.)

The US cover for "The Cuckoo's Calling."
I do not own this picture. All rights go to
the book designer, the publisher, the writer, and
other interested parties.

Even More Proof
  1. JK Rowling almost despises the paparazzi. She does NOT like publicity and would not be seeking for it in a 'plot'. Want proof? Check out this interview where one of her desires is to see "a particular journalist being boiled in oil." (Don't take that too seriously. She's a hilarious and compassionate woman - it's just a joke.) CHECK OUT THIS FREAKING SPEECH DURING THE LEVESON INQUIRY where she spoke out against journalists targeting (and stalking!) her 5-year-old daughter. The Leveson Inquiry is a now-famous inquiry in Britain with the main purpose to make publicists accountable for their actions. This was huge in Britain, and JK Rowling wrote this bitter article in reaction to Prime Minister David Cameron's almost snub of the results of this long and arduous Inquiry. She writes very few editorials. That means when she does, she really means it. SHE DOES NOT LIKE THE PUBLICITY! Ever heard of character Rita Skeeter? And in "The Cuckoo's Calling," it is evident from the first few pages that she does not like them.
  2. The publisher, Little Brown, was completely unprepared for the rush of book orders after the reveal. They had people working around the clock to get the books printed. If they themselves (or Rowling) had plotted to get more money to themselves (and not to the quick-and-ready e-book sellers like Amazon), they would have had the books ready! Instead, probably many of the initial books got lost to Amazon and e-readers. If they truly wanted just the money, they never would have come up with such as stupid way to get it. It's simply illogical. JK Rowling and the publisher would have made more money the 'traditional' way of revealing a book. And if some think she just wanted more publicity, then...honestly. She's JK Rowling. She has more than enough already. And if you don't believe that, look at number 1 above. She doesn't want it.
  3. JK Rowling would have made MUCH more money if she published 'normally'. "The Casual Vacancy" (a book which I lovvveehad an initial print run of 2 million, most of which are gone already. "The Cuckoo's Calling" had a second print run (after the 'reveal') of 300,000 which is a lot, but not nearly the same amount. The normal way of publishing (saying, "I'm going to be releasing a novel in two months!" would have been MUCH more prosperous, I think). And as she says in the FAQ section of her new Robert Galbraith website,

    "If sales were what mattered to me most, I would have written under my own name from the start, and with the greatest fanfare." 

    In fact, read all the FAQs there. The answers are incredible. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE MONEY!
  4. In terms of actual cash flow (not net worth), JK Rowling is richer than the Queen (and that article was in 2003; she's even RICHER now, with so many more books and movies coming out since then). Jo Rowling doesn't need the money. And as she's experienced debilitating poverty and understands the value of money, she doesn't thirst for it. She has a LOT.
  5. And the biggest reason, something all writers (like me!) can understand: she wants to get real, unbiased reviews. As she says in the FAQ section of the Robert Galbraith website,

    "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."

    I think that most artists can understand this.

Frankly, I am just DISGUSTED by some of the comments that appeared on various articles, decrying JK Rowling as just crying for attention. Just look at the 1-star reviews (ALL of which came AFTER the reveal - before it was around 26 reviews of all 5's and one 4, I think?). Read those 1-stars. Some of them are maybe acceptable. But most are down-right ridiculous. Amazon needs a way to make reviews with "least helpful" ratings not affect the overall ranking.

It's astounding that the ones who hate her the most are the ones who know her the least. A simple knee-jerk reaction, and a disgusting one at that. Anyone who truly knows JK Rowling knows she wouldn't be so low as to make this a publicity stunt.

We all deserve our privacy. It is a RIGHT, and sadly, most of us never experienced years and years during which we couldn't go swimming or else face the cameras clicking at us in our bathing suits. During which we had to hide our faces and wear a disguise to buy our own wedding dresses. (I'm a guy. So tuxedo, maybe?) During which we had to file law suits to protect our child's face. During which we had to zip open our child's backpack and find a letter tucked in there addressed to us, a school in which we hoped our child, our child, would be free of the craziness of our lives. During which we had to agonize over how unfair it all is.

All JK Rowling wanted to do was to write freely and happily, without expectations.

Stay tuned for my post on Monday about how this all affects the writer and the reader. I'm going on the premise that it would have been best if JK Rowling had not been revealed at all; how it would have been best if sales were low. ALTHOUGH the sales before the reveal

"had sold 8500 English language copies across all formats (hardback, eBook, library and audiobook) and received two offers from television production companies.... Robert’s success during his first three months as a published writer (discounting sales made after I was found out) actually compares favourably with J.K. Rowling’s success over the equivalent period of her career!" 

So, everyone saying: "This book was doing so horribly before," it actually wasn't. Those numbers (and movie deals) are actually quite good for a debut with very little publicity (Robert Galbraith did not do any public book signings for this book, for obvious reasons, and in order to excuse herself from meeting others, JK Rowling wrote the now infamous and false biography that Robert Galbraith was an ex-military veteran).

So this book might have skyrocketed by itself. Maybe. It is going to be a series, after all, which a main character everyone seems to love. The sequel is already written and soon-to-be-published next year!

It would have been best if I (a huge JK Rowling fan) and most of the world had never heard or read the book *sobs*, if that meant that JK Rowling would have targeted her true audience.

It was truly incredible and heartwarming to see the original, early Amazon reviews of this book. Real crime-lovers in love with this book. Passionate about it, and not about the author alone. Now it's all tainted and muddy. Hopefully Rowling goes pseudonymous again. Even if it is just three months of unbiased paradise, I'm sure it felt incredible.

Please, please, Rowling. Write more, and whatever you want. Go with another pseudonym. And maybe reveal yourself after a few years or so, so we others can enjoy the novel as well? :) I, for one, have gotten tired of trying to convince those around me of your innocence. Hopefully this article helps with that, but a man can sit in a chair, close his eyes, and say over and over, "This chair does not exist, this chair does not exist," and nothing you can say or do can make him concede the fact. And the fact is, JK Rowling did not make this a publicity stunt. There will always be disbelievers, and I'm tired of all of it.

Just do what you want, Rowling. No sense in pleasing anyone. There'll always be your true fans around you.

If you know anyone who doesn't believe in JK Rowling's innocence, please tell them everything I've just told you. It's horrible to see an innocent woman being insulted. 

And, overall, please, just do your research before you make a judgement. And don't dwell in extremes. Remember, nothing is ever 100%.

I hoped you learned/enjoyed (enjoyed?!) this post! I hate to get serious, but we all need to get serious sometimes in life :D Bright side: I want to write and have gotten great ideas, mustering up from my 9-day vacation. Down side: I'm jet-lagged and as I usually write late at night, I'm not really planning to write much. Or it might be laziness. Urrghh.

Stay tuned and subscribe to this blog for Monday's post, basically Part 2 of this post!


  1. Plus JK Rowling doesn't need more money, she's rich enough that she can certainly afford to publish something anonymously for the experience of what it's like to be a debut again despite the substantially smaller monitary return.
    Sadly, there are always those willing and eager to assume the worst in others, and when you are as famous as her many of them come out of the woodwork regardless of facts. I wouldn't get too worked up over what ignorant people think, I do hope that lawyer is reprimanded I don't know about the UK, but here in America breaking lawer/client privilege is pretty serious. They are one of the few people you can legally expect to keep your private matters in confidence since its the law that they do so.

  2. I don't think this was planned at all. Such a shame people are slamming her with one star reviews when they probably haven't read the book. (I know what that feels like.) I read it only sold 1500 in print before the reveal, so I wonder how many eBooks were sold?

  3. Oh goodness... those conspiracy people. I absolutely believe that it wasn't planned. So silly. Anyone who knows JK at all knows she wouldn't stoop to things like this. She's amazing. Poor girl!

  4. Sorry to be contrary, but consider this...I read somewhere that sales of the book on Amazon increased 150,000% (you read that right) after it was revealed.

    Do the math.

    Of course, I'm not implying (really, I'm not) that SHE was behind the reveal.

  5. Who knows what really happened here. All I know is I'm sure happy she has continued to write after her Harry Potter success. She should and regardless if it is under a pen name, who cares. Just go for it! Good on her.