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Comment from the book world in May 2024

May 2024

Writing under a pseudonym

20 May 2024

‘I was very aware that because the manuscript has my name on it, people would just publish it, however bad it was, and I wanted honest feedback. I wanted to know that someone believed in the book and I truly enjoyed getting unvarnished feedback through my agent. There was one editor who did not like Strike having a famous father and made that point. And obviously because I can't break cover, I can't say: "but I know how important this will be in book eight". You can't say that as a first-time writer, and I was ostensibly in this situation a first-time writer. You can't say, now, look I know a series and I know this backstory is going to work out brilliantly in book seven, eight and nine. Who the hell are you to say you're going to get a seven, eight and nine-novel deal anyway? But it was really good to get that feedback.'

J K Rowling, mega-selling author of the Harry Potter books, on writing her first Robert Galbraith crime fiction title under a pseudonym, in The Times.



'I'm very reassuringly honest'

6 May 2024

‘My settings of Europe and English visitors weren't really doing it for them, so we decided Scotland would be good. I thought an island would be great, because it's a small community, and it's an opportunity for my main character to get away from it all. The team at HarperCollins have been so supportive and enthusiastic...

I'm very reassuringly honest. It's a job as well as a calling. It's my living - I'm the chief breadwinner in my house. My husband is retired, he supported me through the two decades while I wasn't making enough to live on, and was doing all kinds of things to do with writing to survive - judging competitions, running workshops, appraising manuscripts. When he wanted to retire, I was very happy to change places - it all worked out well. I work for a big publisher, Avon is a very commercial imprint. When I first started talking to my agent [Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann], she said: What are you hoping for? And I told her I really wanted a publisher that would get right behind me, and get me in supermarkets. And that's exactly what happened...

It's got to be a good decision for my domestic publishing, my world English publishing, which includes North America and Australia, and also for my translations - I'm currently translated into 12 languages. Juliet and I wouldn't make a non-commercial decision for any of those publishers if we could help it. There's always a careful conversation about the setting...'

Sue Moorcroft, the bestselling author of 25 romantic fiction titles, including One Summer in Italy, The Christmas Promise, A Summer to Remember, Starting Over and Is This Love? and president of the UK Romantic Novelists' Association, in Bookbrunch