By now the world of publishing is feeling the full effects of J. K. Rowling’s revelation this past Sunday. In case you’ve been stranded on a desert island through the weekend, The Sunday Times outed Rowling as the mysterious writer behind the crime thriller The Cuckoo’s Calling, ostensibly written by first-timer Robert Galbraith (Rowling sure has a flare for names.) It was no surprise that sales of the book soared within the hour, but the exact amount was stunning.
No wonder Galbraith turned down media appearances.
The "Movers and Shakers" section of Amazon, which charts gains in sales by the hour, says sales of the book are currently up by more than 507,000%.” This prompted the Oxford Street branch of Waterstones to tweet: "SPECIAL OFFER: For today only, ALL of our books were written by Jk Rowling!" While Rowling was receiving praise left and right for the clever trick (A spokesman for Waterstones called it “the best act of deception since Stephen King was outed as Richard Bachman back in the 1980s.) Some took the news as an opportunity to comment on the state of the publishing industry – more or less.
Rowling pulled off an excellent hoax.
Comedian Michael Moran tweeted: "Idea for publishers: 1: Reveal that ALL books were written by JK Rowling. 2: Sales of all books soar by 150,000%. 3: Industry saved."
Author Ian Rankin wrote, also on the social network: "So a debut novelist, garnering good quotes from famed authors for the cover plus good reviews, can expect to sell only a few hundred copies."
Of course, the book is yet to fall into the hands of critics (as Rowling's novel), but it is unlikely that even the most unfavorable reviews would be able to quell the inevitable excitement around any new piece of writing by the Harry Potter author.
How to save the publishing industry?