News

Novel turns bestseller after J.K. Rowling revealed as author

Novel turns bestseller after J.K. Rowling revealed as author

Author J.K. Rowling poses for a portrait while publicizing her adult fiction book "The Casual Vacancy" at Lincoln Center in New York October 16, 2012. Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

LONDON (Reuters) – A detective novel secretly written by J.K. Rowling surged to the top of bestseller lists on Monday after the true identity of the author was revealed, embarrassing some publishers who had rejected the manuscript.

Rowling, whose Harry Potter series made her Britain’s best-selling author, posed as a retired military policeman called Robert Galbraith to write “The Cuckoo’s Calling”, only to see her cover blown at the weekend by a Sunday newspaper.

The novel had only sold 1,500 hardback copies since being published in April. But by Monday it had raced to the top of Amazon.co.uk’s best-selling list, leaving high street and online book merchants unable to slake demand.

“For a title that isn’t even in our top 5,000 to shoot to number one so quickly is almost unheard of,” Darren Hardy, books manager at Amazon.co.uk, told Reuters by email.

Hardy said this meteoric rise in sales meant “The Cuckoo’s Calling” has established itself as a contender to become one of the biggest-selling books of the summer.

Publisher Little, Brown, which last year published Rowling’s first adult novel “The Casual Vacancy”, said it was immediately reprinting “The Cuckoo’s Calling” – about war veteran turned private eye Cormorant Strike investigating the death of a model.

“We’re looking forward to publishing Strike’s next installment in summer 2014,” the publisher said in a statement.

Rowling, 47, said it had been “wonderful” to publish for once without hype or expectation and to get feedback under a different name – even if that meant some publishers rejected her work.

Her Harry Potter series was also spurned by about 12 publishers before the first of her seven novels about the boy wizard was published in 1997.

Kate Mills, fiction editor at London-based Orion publishing, went onto Twitter to admit she knocked back Rowling’s new work.

“So I can now say that I turned down J.K. Rowling. I did read and say no to Cuckoo’s Calling. Anyone else going to confess?” Mills tweeted.

Reviewers as well admitted to missing the book that received largely positive write-ups from those who did read it.

“Mea culpa, mea culpa. Me for @thebookseller on how I missed The Cuckoo’s Calling,” tweeted fiction reviewer Cathy Rentzenbrink from trade magazine The Bookseller who only read the first chapter of the book before abandoning it.

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said it was not unusual in the publishing world to use a pseudonym if authors wanted to write in a new genre to attract a new readership or for women writers who did not want to alienate male readers.

Rowling was not available to comment.

Recent Headlines

15 mins ago in Music

Paul McCartney meets ‘Blackbird’ inspirations

Fresh
paulmccartney324810027294

Paul McCartney met two members of the "Little Rock Nine," who helped inspire the hit Beatles song.

30 mins ago in Music

Huge acts hinting at giant ‘October’

Fresh
bobdylan

Some of the biggest names in rock are adding fuel to rumors of a mega-concert.

58 mins ago in Entertainment

Jim Beam fills 14 millionth bottle of bourbon

Fresh
jimbeam807686855761

Jim Beam has filled and sealed its 14 millionth barrel of bourbon since the 1933 repeal of Prohibition, achieving a first in the bourbon industry.

1 hour ago in Music

Fans thirsty for ‘Lemonade’ as BeyoncĂ© breaks Taylor Swift’s chart record

Fresh
beyonce202549291568

Beyoncé has shattered Taylor Swifts's Billboard album chart record by landing Hot 100 places for all the tracks from her new album "Lemonade."

1 hour ago in Entertainment, Viral Videos

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ as told by emojis

Fresh
11-overlay-2

If the blockbuster movie was told entirely by characters on your cell phone.

Recently Played