The Harry Potter world was rattled to the core, and then immediately turned their browsers to Amazon.com when the news that The Cuckoo’s Calling was not, in fact, the first novel of a previously unknown mystery writer, but a work of pseudonymous fiction by none other than J.K. Rowling. While Rowling didn’t expect to keep her secret forever, she was a little POed that loose lips brought the true identity of Robert Galbraith to light so soon. Nevertheless, she’s got plans for the work she began under the name.
Rowling has updated the Frequently Asked Questions section of Robert Galbraith’s website with a number of details, including that she’s already finished a sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling, “and we expect it to be published next year.” She also talks about the origin of her pseudonym, sharing this tidbit:
There was a well-known economist called J K Galbraith, something I only remembered by the time it was far too late. I was completely paranoid that people might take this as a clue and land at my real identity, but thankfully nobody was looking that deeply at the author’s name.
And as to those who think that the whole pseudonym thing was an elaborate marketing campaign (severely underestimating the ability of the Harry Potter fandom to properly drum up anticipation, in my opinion),
If anyone had seen the labyrinthine plans I laid to conceal my identity (or indeed my expression when I realised that the game was up!) they would realise how little I wanted to be discovered. I hoped to keep the secret as long as possible. I’m grateful for all the feedback from publishers and readers, and for some great reviews. Being Robert Galbraith has been all about the work, which is my favourite part of being a writer. This was not a leak or marketing ploy by me, my publisher or agent, 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.
With 8500 copies sold by the time her identity was uncovered, Rowling was selling about as well as Robert Galbraith as she was at the beginning of her career. She says while she’d hoped to keep her secret a little longer than she actually managed, it was becoming increasingly difficult due to the book’s greater than expected success: Galbraith had already gotten two offers to adapt Cuckoo’s Calling to television.