jk rowling pen name

Literary Agent For Zimmerman Juror; J.K. Rowling Sales Soar

Lit Agent for Zimmerman Juror

There was buzz circulating recently where one of the six jurors from the Zimmerman trial allegedly signed with a literary agent and was working on a book deal. The book was supposed to explain the verdict and discuss why the jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin after an altercation that ended in Trayvon Martin’s death.

The juror did not spell out the reasons for her change of heart but said her isolation in the jury room meant she had not been fully aware of the outrage over the case.

“The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives solely and it was to be an observation that our ‘system’ of justice can get so complicated that it creates a conflict with our ‘spirit’ of justice,” she said in the written statement.

“Now that I am returned to my family and to society in general, I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before I was called to sit on this jury,” she added.

The literary agency who signed the juror is Martin Literary Management based in Mercer Island, Washington. This is their web site. They are also listed here, at P&E. In addition to representing what seems like only nonfiction authors, the Martin Agency also has an editorial service that charges fees for a what looks like a number of services that range from ghostwriting to copy editing.

This is part of what is stated on the editoral page of their web site:

We cannot read samples for analysis without charge, for the obvious reasons of time and labor cost. The fee for this service is $500, paid by check via postal mail at the time that work begins.

I could be wrong, but from what I read there the $500 fee is only an intial fee, and it can go higher.

There’s an interesting discussion about this agency here on Absolutewrite.com that dates back to 2007. This is a more recent thread on AW that discusses their contract terms and mentions the editoral fees once again. And this time The Martin Agency actually responds to people on the thread, and then Dave Kuzminski of P&E addresses a few things. It’s actually a very interesting thread in a general sense for anyone interesting in querying who doesn’t know much about it.

Although the Martin Agency makes it clear they charge no reading fees up front when someone queries, I’ve never been a huge fan of agents or small publishers that offer services for a fee of any kind. I once had a small LGBT publisher offer to publish a novel if I paid him $600 to edit the book. You all know THAT did NOT happen.

And if you really want to read something interesting, here’s a web site I never even knew existed before today. It’s called Ripoffreport.com, and an unhappy client who worked with the Martin Agency left a long explanation of his experiences, to which the Martin Agency replied.

I personally know nothing about Martin Literary Management, so I have no comment.

J.K. Rowling Sales Soar

I posted about Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, yesterday with regard to how she used the pen name Robert Galbraith to recently hop genres and publish a mystery suspense, The Cuckoo’s Calling. And since her identity has been revealed book sales have soared for a book that no one would ever have known about if she’d continued to use the pen name…a male pen name.

After selling around 450 copies by early July, the novel shot up to No 1 on the Amazon bestseller chart after the announcement, and there was a run on bookshops. “About 1,500 copies [had been] sent out [to shops], just like for any novel by an unknown author,” said Waterstones spokesman Jon Howells. “By the end of Sunday they were all gone.”

Amazon’s predicted waiting time for new orders is currently between five and nine days as the publisher rushes out a reprint, having managed the whole of the publishing process as if for a debut author. In the past, journalists have tapped printers for stories, and in the case of Harry Potter one even went undercover, taking a job at the printing press in an attempt to uncover the latest closely guarded plot.

Interesting. You can read more here.

As a side note, I read somewhere yesterday where a blogger made reference to the fact that J.K. Rowling chose a man’s name for the pen name, as if a man’s name would sell more books? Or that a man’s name somehow has more influence than a woman’s name with book sales? I find that highly subjective from my own experience in publishing, especially in the m/m romance genre where books about gay MEN, with gay male content, are mainly written by women using female pen names (or real names), not to mention that women predominantly control the m/m romance genre, from author to editor to publisher…to book reviewer.

But even more important, the male pen name Rowling chose obviously wasn’t doing her much good, and now that she’s using her own name…as a woman powerhouse in publishing…book sales are soaring. So I often wonder how people come to some of these conclusions and get away with it. My take is that Rowling chose a male name to distance herself from her own identity as much as possible. Just like I might choose a female pen name to distance myself from gay books I’ve written in the past so I could write pg rated hetero romance novels. Because no one is dismissed or ignored in publishing more than the gay man.