Mata Lauano Staff Writer
When the London Star Times revealed JK Rowling as having written the crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, there was a lot of speculation as to how this information came to light and, more importantly, who leaked it?
According to the BBC, JK Rowling found out that the disclosure of the secret came from the law firm Russells who have since apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the leak. Rowling has expressed her anger at the law firm as she had assumed she could expect complete confidentiality from them, only to have one of the partners of the firm, Chris Gossage, reveal the identity of Robert Galbraith to his wife’s best friend, Judith Callegari. Although Gossage revealed Rowling’s identity to Callegari in complete confidence, Callegari then took it upon herself to tweet it.
It was to a colleague of Richard Brooks (the paper’s arts editor) that Callegari tweeted the information, responding to a tweet about how The Cuckoo’s Calling didn’t seem written by a beginner. It was Callegari who tweeted Brooks’ colleague saying “it’s not a first-time novel — it was written by J. K. Rowling,” and when asked, “How do you know for sure?” She merely replied, “I just know,” before proceeding to purge all of her tweets and deleting her account.
Rather than writing it off as a strange tweeting troll, the Star Times decided to do some digging. Their sleuthing skills eventually led to Rowling making the statement that saw the Internet go crazy.
Up until the point of discovery, the book itself had only sold about 1,500 copies despite receiving rather positive feedback from reviewers. Because of the recent spike in demand for copies, the publishing company Little, Brown have to wait for the second print run to come through, which will take some time. One would deduce from the lack of preparation on Little, Brown’s part that the publishing company had no grand marketing ploy in play. Apparently not, for accompanying the speculation over ‘whodunit?’ was the contention that the reveal was a ploy by the publishing company to sell more copies of the crime novel. Rowling herself quelled this notion, reiterating it in the FAQ section on her Robert Galbraith official website.
"This was not a leak or marketing ploy by publisher, my agent, or me both of whom have been completely supportive of my desire to fly under the radar. If sales were what mattered to me most, I would have written under my own name from the start, and with the greatest fanfare."
JK Rowling’s anger is completely justified; to enjoy critical success apart from the colossal series of Harry Potter was a goal she’d realised and wanted to maintain for at least another book. Especially when she had gone to all the trouble of trying to conceal her identity. However, at least fans of both Galbraith and Rowling can rest assured that this does not mean the end to the story of Strike, the war veteran-turned-private-investigator. As Rowling reveals that she intends to keep writing the series “as Robert” and has just finished the sequel to be published next year.