The Name Game: J.K. Rowling and the Power of Brand


This past weekend, the U.K.’s Sunday Times broke the news that this past April, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling secretly published a new book, a mystery novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling, under the name Robert Galbraith. The Times was tipped off by an anonymous tweet, and a subsequent investigation turned up the fact that Galbraith—whose bio described him as a former member of the Special Investigative Branch of the Royal Military Police (can fake bios just say anything?)—not only shared Rowling’s agent, but had the same editor and publisher as her 2012 novel The Casual Vacancy. 

A  Times editor named Richard Brooks took the extraordinary step of  submitting the book to computer analysis by two experts, who noted textual similarities to some of Rowling’s other works. Brooks took the evidence to Rowling’s representatives, and she owned up. “I hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has…

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