Yesterday Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling shocked the world when she revealed she published a new book in April without telling anyone.
Now that the news is out, we’re demanding answers to very important questions.
Even though The Cuckoo’s Calling is a fictional mystery novel, it opens up an entirely new mystery about the author’s future future.
1) How will bookstores handle this sudden announcement?
When The Casual Vacancy was published in September of last year, book stores were lined with posters announcing that they had J.K. Rowling’s first post-Potter book ready for your reading pleasure.
How can they handle Rowling’s second post-Potter book which has already been hiding on their book shelves for the past two and a half months?
With brick and mortar stores struggling in sales, naturally they’ll want to tell customers that they have a new book from Rowling that will interest mystery/crime enthusiasts.
How can they make the announcement? Stores could quickly draw up signs that promote Rowling’s new book “under a pseudonym” or simply say “Guess what! A new Rowling book is already here! We didn’t know either.”
However they do it, the announcement will be rocky and awkward. All good releases have lots of anticipation and build up days and weeks before the release. Customers may be confused and turned off by the secret name.
This Hypable writer entered Los Angeles’ flagship Barnes & Noble on Saturday afternoon to purchase a copy a mere one hour after Rowling made her announcement. Though the store’s database said four copies were available, the employees couldn’t find any of them out on the floor or in the storage room. This type of issue may crop up over the next few days across the world until each store gets word that they need to make sure Rowling’s book is ready and available for eager customers.
2) How will Little Brown handle the announcement?
We know that Little Brown, Rowling’s new publisher, who she used for The Casual Vacancy, handled the release of The Cuckoo’s Calling in April. But how will they deal with this sudden announcement?
By that we mean: How will they ensure that more copies are sold for their bottom line? The first thing they’ll have to do is ramp up another print run to ensure all booksellers have enough copies to meet demand. The next thing they’ll do is fine ways to promote a book that’s already been out for two months. The challenge will be difficult because they’ll have to surprise everyone by revealing that Rowling’s latest work has been kept a secret.
We’ve reached out to Little Brown for comment and hope to hear more soon.
3) Will Rowling go on a media blitz?
Our guess for this one is easy: No. In a statement on Saturday, Rowling said that she enjoyed operating under a pseudonym because – for the first time in her life – she was able to publish a book without everyone knowing it is Queen Rowling who is publishing it. That means no interviews, no pictures, and no pressure. We hope Rowling continues to keep any and all talk about this book under wraps for a few more months. Maybe she will wait until publishing her next book.
4) Will it be a series?
The Amazon U.K. listing for The Cuckoo’s Calling lists the book as “the beginning of a unique series of mysteries.”
Will it be a series? Or is that statement made up with as much fiction as the author’s name? A series is potentially very big news, but that leads us to wonder if she’ll continue to operate under the pen name or if she’ll go ahead and start putting “J.K. Rowling” on the covers.
5) Is this the book Ian Rankin was speaking about?
Back in 2007 Ian Rankin had told an audience that his wife spotted Rowling in an Edinburgh cafe working on a crime novel. After the news made headlines, Rankin backtracked by saying it was a joke that got out of hand.
… And now it seems plausible. For Rowling to have published a book so soon after The Casual Vacancy’s September release and the subsequent book tour means that she must have had the story in her mind for some time. Perhaps she had the original idea for The Cuckoo’s Calling as far back as six years ago but didn’t have it fully realized until recently.
6) What does this mean for her next book?
At last check, Rowling said that her next book after The Casual Vacancy would be one for children. Maybe Rowling is now putting the final touches on said idea and hopes to have it in stores for the holiday season.
“I think the next thing I publish will be for children, but I don’t really want to be held to that because I also know what my next book for adults will be and I really like that too so it depends,” she said in September. “I’ve always had more than one thing going.”
Fans will continue to hope for a Harry Potter encyclopedia, and the chances of it happening in the near future continue to grow with every day we step further away from the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Encyclopedia and a new children’s book aside, there’s also the possibility The Cuckoo’s Calling will be turned into a series. That could take up a substantial amount of time, thus pushing off other ideas. Time will tell.