Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

J.K. Rowling revealed as secret author of crime novel

By Josh Levs, CNN
updated 12:18 PM EDT, Tue July 16, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • J.K. Rowling secretly wrote "The Cuckoo's Calling"
  • The publisher pretended the author was Robert Galbraith, a former soldier and police officer
  • It's been "wonderful to publish without hype or expectation," Rowling says
  • Sales on Amazon spiked 507,000% after the news broke

(CNN) -- "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling donned an invisibility cloak of her own for her new novel.

In top-secret fashion, she published "The Cuckoo's Calling" under the name Robert Galbraith. Her publisher, Mulholland Books -- an imprint of Little, Brown and Company -- described the author as a former member of the Special Investigative Branch of the Royal Military Police.

"He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry," the publisher's website said. "The idea for (protagonist) Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who returned to the civilian world. 'Robert Galbraith' is a pseudonym."

The Sunday Times, curious about who this mystery novelist really was, connected the dots -- noting that "he" used an agent, editor and publisher who had worked with Rowling.

J.K. Rowling praises joys of pseudonym
Rowling's secret is out, sales are up
Why do authors use pseudonyms?

"I hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience!" Rowling said in a statement. "It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name.

Social class, swearing and sex permeate Rowling's 'Casual Vacancy'

"The upside of being rumbled is that I can publicly thank my editor David Shelley, who has been a true partner in crime, all those people at Little, Brown who have been working so hard on 'The Cuckoo's Calling' without realizing that I wrote it, and the writers and reviewers, both in the newspapers and online, who have been so generous to the novel.

"And to those who have asked for a sequel, Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances."

Rowling's daring leap

While the novel received praise before the secret was out, the disclosure that Rowling was the author -- to little surprise -- skyrocketed the book's sales.

Reagan Arthur, publisher of Little, Brown and Company. said a reprint of the book is underway and will carry a revised author biography that reads 'Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling.' "

On Amazon.com, sales soared more than 507,000% after Rowling acknowledged being the author.

The fast facts on J. K. Rowling

CNN's Lindsay Isaac and Joseph Netto contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:50 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
updated 7:32 PM EDT, Sun September 28, 2014
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
updated 8:49 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
updated 2:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
updated 4:10 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
updated 11:03 AM EDT, Sat September 27, 2014
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
updated 9:54 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
updated 9:36 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT