How many are successful?
What a difference a tweet makes.
How many people had heard of the author Robert Galbraith or indeed his highly acclaimed but low-selling novel “The Cuckoo’s Calling”? The book was released earlier this year and received positive reviews from readers and critics alike. But the New York Times reported that it sold just over 1,500 copies – until that tweet revealed the author’s true identity – none other than the Edinburgh-based J K Rowling! Since then, sales have gone stratospheric.
According to Rowling, it was an experiment designed to offer her a chance to “publish without hype or expectation” and allow her the “pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name.” What her experiment shows is just what a lottery publishing is. It may have been a great book; but the fact that the author was unknown meant that it appears to have had little chance. In fact, one major publishing house has even admitted turning down “Robert Galbraith’s” book, much to their chagrin now.
Might it have been ultimately successful? After all, not all books are immediate hits. “The Cuckoo’s Calling” might have attracted a larger audience through a mix of social media and word of mouth as other authors have managed to do. Sadly, we can never now know and Rowling’s experiment remains something for her alone.