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    How J.K. Rowling Was Outed By a Law Firm—No, It Wasn't a Publicity Ploy, She's "Very Angry"

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    J.K. Rowling
    J.K. Rowling Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

    If only she could have used a Silencing Charm.

    J.K. Rowling is hopping mad after discovering that British law firm Russells was responsible for leaking her pseudonym Robert Galbraith to the press.

    "I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement," Rowling said in a statement to the U.K.'s Sunday Times (via the BBC). "I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russell, a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced."

    By confidentiality, of course, the Harry Potter scribe is referring to the publication of her most recent tome, The Cuckoo's Calling, in which Rowling used the Galbraith pen name as part of a desire to secretly see how the book stacked up with critics and readers upon its April release—that is, without the baggage and hoopla that comes with being one of the world's most celebrated authors.

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    Unfortunately, that anonymity was not meant to last.

    In a statement, lawyers for Russells apologized "unreservedly" after acknowledging the one of its partners, Chris Gossage, let slip Galbraith's real identity to his wife's best friend, Judith Callegari, who subsequently tweeted a Sunday Times reporter about it on July 9.

    The firm admitted the leak happened "during a private conversation."

    "Whilst accepting [Gossage's] own culpability, the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly. On becoming aware of the circumstances, we immediately notified J.K. Rowling's agent," read the statement.

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    Russells also denied reports that the outing of Rowling as Galbraith was part of a stealth publicity campaign.

    "We can confirm that this leak was not part of any marketing plan and that neither J.K. Rowling, her agent nor publishers were in any way involved," the company added.

    Rowling backed that account.

    "A tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know," she added.

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    The Cuckoo's Calling AMAZON

    PR stunt or not, the revelation has sure given her a big sales boost.

    Before it was revealed Rowling penned Cuckoo's Calling, the crime thriller about a one-legged war vet turned private investigator named Cormoran Strike sold a meager 1,500 copies but received positive notices from the likes of Publishers Weekly, which hailed Galbraith for a "stellar debut," while the Library Journal called it a "grand beach read."

    Now that fans know it's the mastermind behind everyone's favorite boy wizard, the book has since shot up a whopping 5,000 places to top Amazon's best-seller list.

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    After being outed, Rowling posted a note on her website saying that she had hoped to keep the secret a little longer "because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience."

    A fellow author whose no stranger to pseudonyms himself who agreed with that sentiment is her pal Stephen King, who also writes under the pen name Richard Bachman.

    In an email to USA Today, he said, "Jo is right about one big thing—what a pleasure, what a blessed relief, to write in anonymity, just for the joy of it. Now that I know, I can't wait to read the book."

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