A Rose By Any Other Name

I do sort of feel sorry for J K Rowling.

She writes a very successful, very enjoyable series of books, going from unable to get published to a major literary force. That’s all well and good.

But now here comes her next book, and it’s different, very different from what she has written before. But she could write the phone book, and as long as it had her name on it, it would be published.

That must feel precarious – to know your book is not published because it was chosen, or because it was successful online, but because your previous, very different books made so much money.

Not to mention the massive amount of pressure to produce a book as popular and loved as the Harry Potter series, even though this book is a complete change of direction for her.

I haven’t read it yet, but I will. And of course, I won’t be able to help judging it by the Harry Potter books. And going by the reviews, from good to bad, no-one else can help judging it that way either.

Some people will hate it for not being Harry Potter, some people will hate it because she once wrote Harry Potter, some will love it. I doubt the opinions either way will be lukewarm.

Some writers, when writing a different genre from the one that made them famous, or if they feel they have written too much under their own name, write under a completely different name. Stephen King managed to keep his Richard Bachman pseudonym secret for quite a while. It must be satisfying, to know that even under a less famous name, you can still be popular.

But at the same time, it must be quite a safety net, knowing your name alone will sell books.

I wish J K Rowling all the best. I hope her book is wonderful, and I did love the Harry Potters. But I have to admit, if I’d been in her position, I think I would have chosen a different name.


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