Nataliya’s review of The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1) > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus No book by Jo Rowling, Joanne Rowling, JK Rowling or any variant thereon is going to be judged by any yardstick other than Potter. This was a darn good idea, and even if it went pear-shaped through no fault of her own, proved a gigantically important point: Readers no less than the lower orders are influenced by name-branding more than quality.

A couple hundred sold versus hundreds of thousands once we knew it was JK's book speaks ever, ever so loudly to that point.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I loved Harry Potter. And hated the Casual Vacancy. Even though I tried not to compare it to HP because of course, it is nowhere near the same I had a hard time with it. Still not sure if it was the book itself or the fact that it was not HP. I bought Cuckoo's Calling before I knew it was by Rowling. I would not have bought it if I knew it was by her, or at the very least I would have waited awhile. I think it was a good idea and can understand why she did it.


message 3: by Dustin (new)

Dustin I admire Rowling for doing this. I think she was curious about how it would be received, under the pen name..:)


message 4: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya Richard wrote: "No book by Jo Rowling, Joanne Rowling, JK Rowling or any variant thereon is going to be judged by any yardstick other than Potter. This was a darn good idea, and even if it went pear-shaped through..."

Well, yes, and I fully expect that. I was not going to pick up a book by Robert Galbraith (love the name, though - but why a masculine pseudonym? Actually, scratch that; I have a pretty good idea why but at the moment don't want to get into that discussion) when I already have substantial book queue stating accusingly at me from my coffee table and from my Kindle app. But a book by Rowling? Sure, it can cut in ahead of a few poor forgotten books any time! Because for me JKR has earned it, the right to barge in and demand attention. (Same with Stephen King - he may have tried writing as Richard Bachman, but in the end it is him being King that leads me to temporarily abandon my other reading efforts and pick up his tomes).

The way I look at it - Rowling has honestly earned her name recognition; she rose to fame by writing pretty good stories, and there's nothing wrong with picking up a book just because it's "a Rowling". I use the name recognition all the time when picking which books to read because frequently it saves me the disappointment of wasting some hard-earned cash on disappointing books. If I like the author, I hope I can trust that their writing remains good.


Faye, la Patata Exactly what Dustin said. She wanted that validation as a writer without having the burden of Harry Potter on her shoulders. When it wasn't leaked yet, this was getting good reviews without people knowing it was her. Now... well... x= everyone knows and it'll definitely be a bestseller and with people buying it simply because it's Rowling =P


message 6: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya Samantha wrote: " I bought Cuckoo's Calling before I knew it was by Rowling. I would not have bought it if I knew it was by her, or at the very least I would have waited awhile. I think it was a good idea and can understand why she did it."

Interesting how you and I had such different reactions! I got this book *only* because it's by Rowling (I have too many books waiting to be read at this point to go for a complete unknown without a good reason - at least for the next few months), and I'm genuinely curious to see how she continues to do post-Potter (I liked 'The Casual Vacancy' quite a bit, and I applaud her efforts to not be pigeonholed).

Now I only hope that turns out to be actually good.


message 7: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya Faye (The Social Potato) wrote: "Exactly what Dustin said. She wanted that validation as a writer without having the burden of Harry Potter on her shoulders. When it wasn't leaked yet, this was getting good reviews without people ..."

I understand that, but I also would like to think that validation for her as a writer came once her first book was met with such enormous success. It is good to know, however, that this book was receiving praise even before the unexpected identity reveal.


message 8: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus I suspect validation, for JK Rowling, would come if "Robert Galbraith" had sold 50,000 copies BEFORE he was outed as Mme Rowling.


message 9: by Harini (last edited Jul 21, 2013 03:23PM) (new)

Harini I think she wanted the book to be judged without any prejudice. Lets face it, the name JK Rowling has huge expectations attached to it. Harry Potter has become the yardstick with which every book of hers will be compared. So I completely understand her wanting to right under a pseudonym.


message 10: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Nataliya wrote: "I have too many books waiting to be read at this point to go for a complete unknown without a good reason - at least for the next few months"

Yeah, but you have to consider that there are readers out there who aren't like you (or me, or others on this site) with your massive to-read list and no time for first novels by unknown authors. There are plenty of people out there who read only mystery novels, or the stuff on the "new arrivals" section at the library, or whatever pops up in the grocery store racks (although I don't know if this book popped up there--I didn't hear about it before Rowling was outed, so I don't know how it was advertised), or who happened to notice this book somewhere and didn't have a huge pile of books at home to get to first.

As for the pseudonym, maybe she was more interested in just writing a story and releasing it with the chance that some people would read it, which is what a lot authors who aren't J. K. Rowling have to depend on.


message 11: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya Harini wrote: "I think she wanted the book to be judged without any prejudice. Lets face it, the name JK Rowling has huge expectations attached to it. Harry Potter has become the yard stick with which every book ..."

That's true. But I'm still in the camp that believes people need to stop expecting a never-ending stream of Harry Potter-like literature from her, and I think seeing that she is capable of producing books that are nothing like that series can cement the idea of her being a versatile adult writer.

By the way, so far this book is pretty good - to the point when I decided to skip a nap before an overnight shift and read this instead.


message 12: by Harini (new)

Harini Nataliya wrote: "Harini wrote: "I think she wanted the book to be judged without any prejudice. Lets face it, the name JK Rowling has huge expectations attached to it. Harry Potter has become the yard stick with wh..."

I agree. Like you I was one of few who actually enjoyed 'The Casual Vacancy'. I really liked this book too. I think people just have to realize that Harry Potter is one of a kind and should appreciate that JK Rowling is branching out rather than sticking to a tried and tested formula for success.


message 13: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya Jacob wrote: "As for the pseudonym, maybe she was more interested in just writing a story and releasing it with the chance that some people would read it, which is what a lot authors who aren't J. K. Rowling have to depend on."

Yes, I can understand the appeal of doing it this way, especially since not like she's hurting for cash and would not be able to tolerate lower sales than if it were announced as a book by Rowling (moot point now, of course, after the leak). I just don't find anything wrong with the idea that people would want to read her books just because they are *her* books. After all, she is a good writer.

Harini wrote: "I agree. Like you I was one of few who actually enjoyed 'The Casual Vacancy'. I really liked this book too. I think people just have to realize that Harry Potter is one of a kind and should appreciate that JK Rowling is branching out rather than sticking to a tried and tested formula for success."

Exactly. I applaud her for trying her hand in different genre and exploring her abilities as a writer.

I think the issue with 'The Casual Vacancy' was that people's expectations were thwarted by reality. I hope that since the 'Omg, it's not a Potter book!' sentiments have already been expressed, this book can be enjoyed only for what it is and not detested for what it isn't.


message 14: by Rhys (new)

Rhys She said she wrote it under a pseudonym because she just wanted to feel like an ordinary debut novelist, get unbiased feedback from critics, and get the privilege of writing without hype or pressure.

I also thought what you said, at first, but I think I understand/feel for her after her statements.


message 15: by Eric (new)

Eric Perhaps as some suggest, it was a cunning ploy concocted by the publisher to increase her book sales. I'm not being cynical really, just consider thinking that marketers are always looking for ways to give their products appeal:)


message 16: by Paige (new)

Paige I totally agree with you Nataliya--I think she deserves her name recognition and any book by her can cut in my queue any time. That is a distinction few authors have ;)


message 17: by Cecily (last edited Jul 22, 2013 02:24PM) (new)

Cecily She's had her cake and eaten it: she wanted her writing to be judged more objectively than it would otherwise have been, and it had pretty good reviews (mind you, it had senior staff at the publisher pushing it, which probably wouldn't have happened with a genuine first timer). Then the secret slips, albeit a little sooner than she wanted, and she gets a sales boost as well. Clever. And why not?


message 18: by Franziska (new)

Franziska I had the suspicion that they let it slip on purpose. How many people could have known that JKR was this Gilbraith guy? Not many. So they saw it didn't perform that well and let the secret out. Publishers want to make money in the end. Also I habe heard it is going to be a series


message 19: by Sivanesan (new)

Sivanesan May be the publishers asked her to do so as her previous book was not so welcome. What ever, how is the book? Tell us about it.


message 20: by Patty (new)

Patty I am a "Potterhead," love Harry Potter. The Casual Vacancy, not so much. I read about halfway and couldn't continue, it seemed like it was all character and plot development. It was well-written with interesting insights and characters, but nothing happened.
As for first-time authors, I read many debut novels and love them. I prefer them over the big names in fact.


Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Why hide? Because everyone who red and loved JK Rowling will not give a new book that is for adults and in a different genre a chance... This is widely known in the writing field. You get "branded" to a genre and if you want to write in other genres, you have to have a pseudonym.

This goes for the 'big' names like Terry Pratchett as well as the lesser known authors.


message 22: by Emily (new)

Emily she made a statement about hwo it was freeing to not be living up to other people's standards and to receive genuine criticism for the book with no hype over who wrote it...even if she hadn't though, i feel like that is an obvious reason, so even though i get your reasoning, i don't really see why you don't get hers...


message 23: by Jordan (new)

Jordan perhaps she just wanted to see if she could have made it as a writer if she had never done the harry potter books...


Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Jordan wrote: "perhaps she just wanted to see if she could have made it as a writer if she had never done the harry potter books..."

Nah. It's a very popular/common thing for a variety of reasons for authors of every pay grade. I mean, even big named (aka, very rich and very successful) authors do this. Take, for example, Nora Roberts. She actually has three pseudonyms, though she has retired one of them. She's published 400+ novels under Nora Roberts and another 100+ under J.D. Robb. Everyone knows they're the same person but she still publishes on both.

Lesser known or authors of medium popularity can generally only publish (through a publishing house) one book a year and it's almost always in the same genre, so if they want to publish more or in a different genre, they use pseudonyms (they generally have to because publishing once a year doesn't make much money.)

Or you have James Patterson as another example. A lot of the books he's 'written' are actually written by ghost writers. He just writes the outline, slaps his name on the cover, take a cut large cut of the profits, and allows these newer authors to use that book as a kind of reference to kick start their careers (publishers like to publish stuff from people who have already published at an established press.)


message 25: by Renata (new)

Renata Well, J.K. said she wanted to test this book, see if the critics would be good if she didn't put her name on it. She doesn't need a pseudonym because of the numbers of books she wants to publish, because she doesn't publish any. She did it so she would know if her skills as a writer still stands.


message 26: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Maybe because Casual Vacancy (from what I have heard) was so boring


Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Renata wrote: "She did it so she would know if her skills as a writer still stands."

Hello! Obviously not. Everyone knows they're the same person so that whole idea just flew out the window. It's just marketing BS.

It actually has nothing to do with her and everything to do with stupid people who can't read a new book from an author without moaning about how it isn't like anything s/he's written before.

When an author like Nora Roberts has to do it because she wants to write more mystery in her romance novels than it's no surprise that Rowlings had to.


message 28: by Jordan (new)

Jordan ...i think everyone here has very valid point. Alisi, you are spot on, especially from a business/publishing/marketing point of view. and Renata i also agree this is totally possible. the truth is that unless one of us are ourselves writing under pseudonym and are actually rowling or her publisher it's all speculation...


message 29: by Owen (new)

Owen Baxter She wanted to write books without the expectation she has to live up to just because she's J.K. Rowling. It must be uncomfortable to have everyone questioning you on your new book and critics saying it isn't as good as Harry Potter or doesn't match up to that reputation. Under a new name, she could try new things and not be judged for them like she was with The Casual Vacancy.


message 30: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Flores Because no adult was going to take anything she had to write seriously after the epicness of Harry Potter. That's why you use a stage name. She's a pure genius.


message 31: by Renata (last edited Jul 28, 2013 04:20PM) (new)

Renata She actually said that she didn't enjoy being discovered using this pseudonym because she wanted to continue writing for the pleasure of doing it, for the critics without the HP's luggage on the back, for real feedback and because she felt that when she puts her names on the books it increases expectations from herself and the public - That's just what she said to the press (in another words), not speculation. She did it right, "bad" thing for her that people found out, and a apparently good thing for us readers who get to discover another book, another story and criticize based on our likes other than her writing-history.


message 32: by Regina (new)

Regina I think it makes complete sense as to why she did it. She wanted to the work reviewed and evaluated on its own, not as a book written by the author of Harry Potter. Casual Vacancy (despite being an amazing novel) received harsh reviews because people were disapointed (in my opinion). She has said it was freeing to write under a different name and see it being reviewed for itself alone.


message 33: by Georges (new)

Georges She didn't want the stigma and anticipation


message 34: by Deidre (new)

Deidre "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." -JK Rowling

Honestly, just getting the validation from Harry Potter that she did would in no way, I imagine, validate her personally as an artist. It might validate the long hours she put into that ONE book series and imaginary concept, but many artists are never satisfied with getting credit for an ability in one area; that's what makes them artists in the first place.

Not to mention, claiming that she earned her right to be recognized and ride on her name alone thanks to Harry Potter's commercial success would be like giving credit to Stephanie Meyer or the author of "Fifty Shades" (didn't bother to remember her name, can't lie) as huge literary giants, simply because they happened to hit the commercial jackpot with success. Being accepted commercially is not usually "good enough" for many artists, and hearing her talk about her own personal journey in interviews, I get the impression that she's moved past writing to make a living, and now can focus more on writing to make art. In many ways, though, she is NEVER going to be able to distance herself from the hype surrounding her name, and having a pseudonym was probably a very private, gratifying experience for her as an artist; a chance to return to square one and have her work alone appreciated without anything attached. Must have been nice while it lasted.


message 35: by Rune (new)

Rune That shouldn't puzzle you, just think about it some more.


message 36: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya Runeskylark wrote: "That shouldn't puzzle you, just think about it some more."

I hope you're not saying I did not actually think about it already, because that would be rude (implication being that I'm not too smart) and I don't think you meant to sound this way.


message 37: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Rowling's law firm has paid significant damages for the leak - to a charity. I guess that might be part of some planned wheeze to make her look even more wonderful, but I think it more likely that it demonstrates that the secret was meant to be kept, at least for now:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainme...


message 38: by Danielle (new)

Danielle That's the thing, she has created such a name for herself that she isn't sure if people would buy this book because it was written by her or if they generally had an interest in it and liked it. She wanted to see if people generally liked her writing and not just because it was her who wrote it.


message 39: by Rune (new)

Rune Nataliya wrote: "Runeskylark wrote: "That shouldn't puzzle you, just think about it some more."

I hope you're not saying I did not actually think about it already, because that would be rude (implication being tha..."


No, I didn't intend to be rude.

You've asked the question: "why in the world would you want to hide behind a pseudonym?"

That you have asked "why in the world...?" and not simply "why...?" implies that you possibly find her motivations irrational. As if there is no reason "...in the world...." she might choose to assume a pseudonym.

I think a little bit of research, reading, and thinking, would lead you to a satisfyingly logical conclusion. Hence I suggested doing so. It's all there in the articles featuring the statements Rowling has made since the reveal.

Unless, perchance, it was in your interest to provoke a discussion with that question? and you didn't mean it earnestly?


message 40: by Ivonne (new)

Ivonne Rovira Franziska wrote: "I had the suspicion that they let it slip on purpose. How many people could have known that JKR was this Gilbraith guy? Not many. So they saw it didn't perform that well and let the secret out. Pub..."

It would be a rare mystery that didn't turn into a series.


message 41: by Regina (new)

Regina Franziska wrote: "I had the suspicion that they let it slip on purpose. How many people could have known that JKR was this Gilbraith guy? Not many. So they saw it didn't perform that well and let the secret out. Pub..."

The articles show it was leaked by her attorneys. Against her will and she sued them for (and received) damages.


message 42: by Moira (last edited Aug 11, 2013 05:36AM) (new)

Moira Russell Cecily wrote: "Rowling's law firm has paid significant damages for the leak - to a charity. I guess that might be part of some planned wheeze to make her look even more wonderful, but I think it more likely that..."

Wow, I hadn't seen that! So a partner at the law firm blabbed to his girlfriend or something, who then leaked it to a reporter on Twitter? Wow, I bet heads are going to roll over that.

-- Oh wait, it looks like the partner blabbed to his wife, who blabbed to her best friend, who was the one who wrote the tweet to India Knight, and a reporter saw it and immediately started to investigate, rightly thinking it would be a great scoop. Hoo boy.


Rowling explained that she was donating the money "partly as a thank you to the army people" who helped her with research.

"But also because writing a hero who is a veteran has given me an even greater appreciation and understanding of exactly how much this charity does for ex-servicemen and their families, and how much that support is needed," she said.


Aww, that's nice. I really liked her portrayal of the disabled veteran, and other veterans, too.


message 43: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell ....why in the world would you want to hide behind a pseudonym? You have earned the recognition your name brings!

It didn't sound like she was comfortable with the recognition to me -- I remember reading in an interview once that she said she'd loved writing in cafes, but could no longer do that at all and really missed it. Most authors are relatively shy creatures, and it sounded to me like she didn't like the feeling of the world's expectations breathing down her neck. Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates both used pseudonyms for similar reasons. I think it's natural for an artist who gets very famous for doing one thing to want to be able to explore.

I also think a lot of people aren't as generous as you and willing to buy a book by her because she's a good writer -- they associate JKR with YA wizards and by God, that's what they're going to want to get. Also, publishers these days are much more focused on categorization and branding, so the idea of what to do with a detective novel with sex scenes in it written by someone who also writes YA boarding school/wizard books is going to freak them out.

I wouldn't be surprised if she kept the pseudonym for this series even though her identity's been revealed -- like someone pointed out with Roberts, who still publishes under pseudonyms. It can be a pointer, "Here's what to expect from this book," and makes it easier to shelve in stores (or categorize on Amazon). I don't know for sure, but I would bet the backlash against the Casual Vacancy had a lot to do with it.


message 44: by Ivonne (new)

Ivonne Rovira Moira wrote: "....why in the world would you want to hide behind a pseudonym? You have earned the recognition your name brings!

It didn't sound like she was comfortable with the recognition to me -- I remember ..."


I agree. Publishers' No. 1 concern with novels seems to be, "What shelf should this go on?" -- a grand case of tail wagging dog. How many classics -- Falconer, Slaugherhouse Five, The Little Prince, Platero and I, and A Christmas Carol come to mind -- could never be published today because they don't fit neatly into a single genre?


message 45: by Somerandom (new)

Somerandom Famous authors often publish under pseudonyms.

It allows them to test out the waters in different genres, without comparisons to their previous work/s.
It allows them to write without the expectations placed upon them.
It allows them to try different things, without (again) comparisons to their previous exploits.
It allows them to explore their technique, without being judged harshly for it.
It allows them to publish a book without the hype and see if they can still bring in the readers.

JKR always struck me as someone who was very private, overwhelmed by her fame and a tad afraid of it.

I think it makes perfect sense for a best selling author to do this.
It gives them far more freedom and alleviates them of expectations. It can be a good exercise for an author to gain helpful criticism, without the taint of their established fandom squeeing over everything they do.

It probably won't be the last pseudonym used by JKR and she certainly won't be the last best selling author to use this "trick."


message 46: by Nermin (new)

Nermin Are you going to write a review?


message 47: by Diane (new)

Diane Nataliya, I thought of this same question any my thought was that she wanted to get an honest outcome of thoughts on the book without people knowing it was her. That may be the only way she felt she could have accomplished it. It flew off the shelves once her name was revealed, but before that, not so much.


message 48: by Mpauli (new)

Mpauli When reviewing becomes an art then I humbly thank the artist for providing me with another beautiful and insightful piece of her work. Very well done! :)


message 49: by Sesana (new)

Sesana Great review!

Propelled to household-name fame for her lovely gift of imagination, she gets to experience the uglier side of fans' adoration - the side that comes with suffocating hard-to-meet expectations and stifling atmosphere of demanding hype.

Does she ever. It's astonishing just how ugly certain elements of Harry Potter fandom could get, back in the day.


message 50: by Bhavesh (new)

Bhavesh I am very new to Good Reads. One fine day I randomly chose to "follow" you here. I like your reviews - to the point but still comprehensive enough to pique the reader's interest.

Excellent review of this one too!


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