I have to admit that I hadn't heard of Roberth Galbraith's spy novel, Cuckoo's Calling, until the author was outed as J.K. Rowling, she of Harry Potter fame. Hadn't seen it on a bookstore shelf, hadn't come across any reviews. Now that it's made the news and I've had a chance to read the rave reviews that it got before the news about its author's identity broke, I'm actually really excited to read it. It got a great critical response. But the whole saga is also a really sad commentary on the state of publishing and bookselling and book-choosing. This article explains how badly the book sold under "Galbraith"'s name and how the publisher was considering pulping the unsold copies until it had a star name attached and the publicity and sales that go with that. The fact of the matter is that I'm excited to read a great spy novel, but I'm actually really not totally happy to be reading a book that's associated with a major commercial brand, that is, Rowling. But even as somebody who keeps up pretty well with new books coming out (perhaps too well for my own time management and wallet) I didn't have the chance to hear about it until that force was behind it. It's not ideal that a book has to have a big name behind it in order for the media and booksellers to promote it at all. And it doesn't give much confidence that new or lesser-known writers, even if they have something great to say, stand a chance of getting a hearing.
Rowling Book Skyrockets to Instant Hit
A totally different story about giving books their due:
New Building for Ancient Library