There has been a lot of hype in the last few days when it was revealed that JK has published a book in April under a different name. The hype is about the fact that it did ok up until it was revealed JK was the author then it shot up the ranks. People have said that this doesn’t display the merit of the book and its all about the name in publishing…well yeah.
There is a reason publishers don’t often take a chance on a new author. Risk. Let me give you an example. You are building a house, do you hire an architect who has never built a house before but has a really good plan, or someone who has a large portfolio of successful builds?
There is a reason they put the authors name on the front cover. If a reader likes an author they will usually read anything by them. It doesn’t matter what it is, you know you like their style of writing so you will take a chance on anything they publish. The press are saying this is the way hollywood is today, its all about the name. Again, well yeah. Are you going to fly Qantas or Air Pikatu? You go for the name you know can deliver the goods.
And its not the first time an author has tried this. Stephen King wrote a few novels under a different name before he was found out. They both say the same thing, there is less pressure to deliver when no one knows who you are. You can write what you like, in what ever style you like. But yes, you will have to start from scratch in the marketing area because to the unsuspecting public you are a new untried author. They don’t know if your ending will be well formed, if your characters well rounded, so of course you are going to have trouble convincing people to buy your work.
Where as the name JK Rowling has already run the gauntlet and we know she can write so we have no issue picking up her book and knowing our $25 will be well spent. This is how publishers think too. They want to know that the public will like it enough to give them a good turn around on their investment. If the author is unknown they might only make a few thousand. If the author is established and has a following they can make hundreds of thousands.
Have i bought, The Cuckoo’s Calling? Yes, because it looks interesting. I read Harry Potter but i did not read, The Casual Vacancy because i didn’t think i would like that style of story and my mother read it and confirmed that its not my cup of tea. So the name does play a role but in my books it does still come down to the individual knowing what they like to read.
What about you, what do you think about this whole thing?