‘What’s in a name…?’

97814087039912The Guardian has today published an article stating that JK Rowling has been writing novels under pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

The crime novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was released in April of this year and received outstanding reviews. It was, however, due to these reviews and the novel being ‘too accomplished’ for a debut novel, that led the investigation into who actually wrote the book. JK Rowling said that:

“I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

Of course the big reveal has led to a wave of criticism and debates through social media sites, as well as comments on The Guardian‘s page. I find it very hard to agree with some people’s comments, particularly the ones who state that the author’s true identity has only been revealed so that Rowling can earn more money. (Has everyone forgotten the millions which she has made through the Harry Potter series?!) The article reported that the novel has sold 1,500 copies. For a hardback novel, this is a fine achievement for an author we believed to have been making his debut.

It did make me wonder though… can the quality and success of a book be undermined according to the name on the front cover?

Well of course in most instances – yes! Let’s face it, publishers don’t have big branding campaigns and it is no lie that they use the authors’ names to sell their products. Of course a book is going to sell well if it is by an author which is already an established bestseller. People already know what to expect. On the other hand, there is also an argument that no, the name on the cover of a book doesn’t always determine the quality and success of the book. As the article states, The Cuckoo’s Calling has already experienced great success, despite the author not being known. In essence, you only have to think about every bestselling author out there; there was a time when (s)he was not known, yet the quality and success of their book was not undermined because of this.

I think it’s safe to say that in this instance, like those words uttered by Juliet and penned by Shakespeare: ‘that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ is a statement which, undoubtedly, can be applied here. 

 

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About ambergunn

English Language and Literature graduate and MA Publishing graduate from Anglia Ruskin University. Production Editor at a STM journal publisher in London. Tea lover, bookworm and metaphor appreciator. View all posts by ambergunn

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