Cuckoo Redux

Worst Kept Secret Ever!

Worst Kept Secret Ever!

Hard to believe, but the JK Rowling aka Robert Galbraith story has finally come to a conclusion, sort of.

One Weds, JK Rowling took her law firm, Russells, to court and won a judgement against them. Russells has agreed to make a large donation to The Soldiers’ Charity, at Rowling’s request, and has apologised publicly for the indiscretion.

Nowhere does it mention JK Rowling leaving Russells or the offending lawyer Christoper Gossage, being disbarred or even censured. However, the lawyer appearing for JK Rowling — Jenny Afia, is from Schillings law firm. So that does seem to indicate a shift in business.

Rowling, who was not in court for the hearing, said in a statement: “This donation is being made to The Soldiers’ Charity partly as a thank you to the army people who helped me with research, but also because writing a hero who is a veteran has given me even greater appreciation and understanding of exactly how much this charity does for ex-servicemen and their families, and how much that support is needed.

“I always intended to give The Soldiers’ Charity a donation out of Robert’s royalties, but I had not anticipated him making the bestseller list a mere three months after publication (indeed, I had not counted on him ever being there!).”

Of course, within that statement is the implication she spoke with “army people” as part of her research for the book. This rather implies that she went to Army soldiers and officers and said “Hey I’m doing research and would you mind . . . .” That statement implies at least a few Army personnel knew she doing research for a new book and any one of them could have mentioned it.

Too, it flies in the face of previous statements that Rowling made saying only told a “handful” of her most trusted advisers knew that she wrote a crime novel. Yes, maybe only a handful knew she was Robert Galbraith. But if she was talking to Army personnel doing research, people beyond the “handful” had to know she was writing a new book which featured some sort of Army connection.

Rowling’s lawyer told the court that Rowling was “angry and distressed that her confidences had been betrayed and this was very much aggravated by repeated speculation that the leak had, in fact, been a carefully coordinated publicity stunt by her, her agent and her publishers, designed to increase sales.”

Aggravating maybe, but completely understandable. Especially when one takes into consideration the fact that other publishing houses had rejected the novel as “good, but not good enough to a launch new author” and she ended up back at her old publisher instead of taking the book apart and trying to make it worthy of new author publication before submitting it again.

Solicitors for Gossage and Callegari said they had offered their sincere apologies to Rowling and legally undertaken “not to make any further public statements about this incident or the claimant.” Putting a lid on the matter once and for all.

Rowling will donate the equivalent of three years’ worth of royalties from The Cuckoo’s Calling to The Soldiers’ Charity. “It’s a not insignificant amount. We’re over the moon,” said a spokesman for the charity. So, all’s well that ends well. And hopefully, Rowling has learned to avoid pen names from now on. But don’t count on it!

Published in: on August 1, 2013 at 10:26 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

A rose by any other name . . . . A word about that all essential ingredient — the name. Does it stinketh? Or entice with witty fragrance?

This is one of those things people rarely talk about but that actually has a big impact: Names.  By this we mean, not just how you title your books, but your name as an author, what you name your blog / website (and it’s address), and your email.  This may sound ridiculous to you, but consider this . . . .

You are shopping for a wedding photog.  You begin browsing various websites.  Are you really likely to get to Zardog Nine?  Probably not.  First of all, no one has the patience to scroll to the Z.  Second, Zardog?  Sounds like they’re into some serious sci-fi (though it might be a real persons name).  And if you do click onto the site and you find out the guy’s name is John Fargo . . . . it’s just all too weird.

Publishers look at authors this way too.  Your site is Fashion for Mice. You’ve sent us a book proposal about Malayasian cuisine . . . from your email address  Uh . . . obviously you’re a person with broad interests, but, you come off as scattered and “eccentric” to say the least.  We’d be much happier if the site was East Of the, talked at least a little about your interest in cuisine as well as your ex-pat life in SF, and your email was  Presuming your name was Nor Kiambeng.

Studies have shown that people with names in the first half of the alphabet get more breaks. It’s understandable, fatigue sets in and that’s it, people stop looking after around L.  So if you’re picking a name (for yourself, blog, or email), pick one that stands out, in a good way, for whimsy or creativity, that’s relevant to you and/or your interests which you write about, and if you can one that starts with a letter in the first half of the alphabet.

If you have a name you like for writing, keep it.  But don’t screw it up by picking a bad blog name or email that is something completely unrelated to your chosen name, or that features numbers, or obscene language.  Not funny, not professional, and not going to get you published / an agent.

This is 100% completely prejudiced advice, but it comes from having worked in publishing for many years.  We are folks who see a typo on your submission letter, and pass it around for something to laugh at and brighten our days.  It seems cruel but we deal in volume and just don’t have time or patience for people that can’t bother to get it right even though they, unlike us, have all the time in the world to get it right.

The same thing happens if you send in a query by email and your address is something like  You could maybe get away with that if you were submitting a book on paleontology to a small publishes (maybe), but is a lot less rife with unintended and unwanted meaning.

We’ve seen some pretty bad emails around here, but a weird (not creative) address is always a tip off:


While we can appreciate creative:

  • fieldoheather@  (from a woman named Heather)
  • spunkyisland@ (from a travel writer)
  • printdelight@ (from a writer)

We just delete things like:

  • inmyshoebox@  (serial killer? or child crafts?)
  • Existentiallowboy@ (did they mean lowboy? or cowboy? Are they talking about furniture or the West?)
  • yuck_fu@ (just bad on so many levels, like the person whose address is kittyporn@   even if it’s cat related, ewwww!)

Please, please, stick with gmail, yahoo, aol, or some other neutral address that uses your authorial name.  Better yet, have an address connected to your personal website.

An email from is something people will open, especially if they can go to the website and see who you are and what you do.  Something like at least sounds like it’s from a rational person. It’s also memorable.  Who can remember  (PS thanks for telling us your month and year of birth, it explains a lot).

Who wants to hear their submissions editor say,” Yeah this manuscript is from Jakes Paxton, we love it, let’s email him. He’s at . . . umm.  . . . What’s he at? That weird address?”   No one is going to cull through all the emails to try and figure out it was. . . Green Spirit 0389.  We’ll just look another writer. It’s easier.

Please, do yourself a favor, use an adult email, even if it’s only for publishing/agent purposes.

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 5:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,