The J.K. Rowling Effect, or How to Sell a Zillion Books

Recently, the world snorted its coffee out of its nose upon hearing the news that J.K. Rowling had published another book, an adult mystery called The Cuckoo’s Calling. (An adult mystery meaning a mystery for adult readers. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

The twist is, she published under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. The book got great reviews, but wasn’t a big seller. That is, until news broke that Rowling was really the author. Amazon basically exploded after that. They’re still picking up the pieces, which may be why your Stegosaurus dog costume hasn’t arrived yet.

sales-skyrocket

It seems that many unpublished authors are having one of two reactions:

1)   Crying into their bowls of ramen, because if a proven author can’t sell a well-written mystery, what hope is there for the rest of us poor, starving, not-a-pseudonym-for-J.K.-Rowlings out there?

2)   Directing excessive and nasty glee at all those agents who turned down the Robert Galbraith book. (Suckers. You rejected J.K. Rowling. And me. And J.K. Rowling. Ha.)

I think we all need a little perspective. Ms. Rowling is an amazing, talented author. Even if Harry Potter is not your thing, you can still appreciate the creativity of her world and characters. Plus, she wrote the whole series on paper napkins while hiking uphill in the snow as a single mom. Hype or not, she sold a bajillion books because people loved reading them.

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I’m sure The Cuckoo Calling is great too (not that I’ve read it, because, um, I never heard of it until now.) All we’ve really learned from this whole situation, is that a book with J.K. Rowling’s name on it sells a gazillion more copies than a book with a guy’s name on it that we’ve never heard of.

Oh, wait, we already knew that.

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