Is anyone else baffled by J.K.Rowling? For those who don’t follow literary news, Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, published a novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, under the pen name Robert Galbraith. The book sold a few thousand copies before her authorship was leaked. Ostensibly, Rowling wanted a chance to see how her book would be received without her famous name on the cover.Image

Huh? What, exactly, did she want to experience with this secret publication? Failure? Some existential insight into the insignificance of her words? I’ve contemplated this for a little while and come up with a few likely scenarios:

  1. It was all an evil plot to hog media attention. Rowling and her publicist planned the “secret” release and the leak of her authorship. Okay, this one probably isn’t true, but if it were, she’d be a genius. This book got far more attention than it would have had she not first kept her authorship secret. Suing the firm that leaked the information added fuel to the press fire. Donating funds from the book only extended the story. But maybe we should put that kind of paranoid conspiracy theory aside, and give Rowling the benefit of the doubt.
  2. J.K. Rowling is deeply insecure.  Sure, her books have all been bestsellers.  And, yes, she’s made millions. She did, indeed, climb to fame and fortune from humble beginnings based on the merit of her work. Children and adults around the world adore her books. Nevertheless, it’s a well known fact that writers need praise like pandas need bamboo. Still, this one seems like a stretch for J.K. of all people.
  3. She’s writing a book about a struggling writer, doing character research. She just had to find out what it felt like for a book release to come and go without fanfare.  Again, this theory seems unlikely.  Rowling must know that the world doesn’t want to read a book about unsuccessful, low-achieving writers. Where’s the heroism in that story? Where’s the quidditch?
  4. The Cuckoo’s Calling is a lousy book and she didn’t want her name anywhere near it. Maybe she went to all the trouble of printing it out, using a whole batch of paper and a good portion of her ink cartridge. She didn’t want to just recycle the manuscript after sinking all those resources into it, so she submitted the thing, but kept her name off it. But, no. The Cuckoo’s Calling received positive reviews even before her name was attached to the title.
  5. She simply wanted a chance to be featured on this blog. A psychic told her: Write a book, but don’t put your name on it. Burn a candle at both ends while picturing your name on It worked!

Hmmm…. Somehow, I suspect I haven’t quite solved this one.