What’s in a name? J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith

by Aastha J. Parmar, Age 20, India


CuckoosCallingRecent developments in literary world has put J.K. Rowling’s name under a lot of criticism. She was revealed to be the author of the detective crime-novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, that she wrote under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. Now as half of the world races about to grab their copy only because of Ms. Rowling’s fame, the critics will leave no stone unturned to put the piece under the microscope of harsh doubt. I have asked it over a numerous websites, without any reply and I hope I get one here, to this-why are people so bothered?

In all honesty, I’m a huge Rowling fan, but I still haven’t read The Casual Vacancy. Now in all the articles that I’ve been through, authors state that the crime-novel only catapulted to the top because of Ms. Rowling’s name (or fame, if you prefer). It sold only 1,500 copies before she was revealed as the author. Fame helps a book sell, and it speaks volumes about the publishing business. How new authors are never given a second glance, whilst books written by famous authors sell like hot cakes and zoom towards the top.

What’s in a name?

Riddle me this: does the publishing business make you buy books? They don’t throw around free books to readers just because it has been written by a world-renowned author. It’s us who buy them. Then why blame the publishing business or the author? I love Rowling and I absolutely worship the Potter series, but I still haven’t read The Casual Vacancy because I haven’t had the money. But when I do, I will buy that book and read it over and over again because it’s been written by Rowling.

About The Cuckoo’s Calling, now that I know it has been written by my favorite author, I’ll look forward to reading it too. But if I happened to come across it a month ago, I wouldn’t have risked my money on a debut novel of an ex-military man, would I? How many of you risk that? Who’s to blame? Ms. Rowling or the publishing business? It didn’t sell any copies because the reason for its publishing wasn’t to sell a billion copies. The author might’ve wanted something other than the money. She clearly has fame, as I’m reminded by the flood of articles that somehow put popularity down as the bad guy.

If Ms. Rowling is popular today, it is surely because she has made her mark in the world. If she comes out with a novel that does not have her name written on it, who are you and I to judge? If you want to pick it up and give it a light reading, who will stop you? Surely not the publishing house? And if, by any luck, it is revealed that the author is in fact Ms. Rowling herself, wouldn’t the book speak for itself even before you get anywhere near it? I think we all should be a little less judgmental and receive this piece of news with a squeal of delight. For the publishing houses and debut novels too. It’s because of them that we have authors like Ms. Rowling.

Shakespeare’s another jewel who sums up my point precisely:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
 By any other name would smell as sweet;   
Romeo and Juliet


Aastha J. Parmar is a 20 year old writer from India. Aastha says, “Writer: comes with a disclaimer, contributes a little to the world’s craziness everyday. Fascinated by Harry Potter, winters, orange juice, railyards/churchyards.”


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