Ah, the dreaded leak. My boyfriend and I are big fans of the show The Walking Dead. This past week the season finale aired while we were away from home. Before we could curl up on the couch to check out the episode On Demand the next day, the ending was leaked to both of us by different sources. Don’t you just hate that?
You may have heard by now, but last week (November 28, 2013) there was a breech in the literary arena. Three unpublished works by J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author known best for The Catcher in the Rye, were released on a UK eBay auction. The titles were part of a 5-story series that was to be released in succession between the years 2015 and 2020. One of the stories was said to be the prequel to The Catcher in the Rye.
As Salinger is no longer with us, we can only assume that he’s turning over in his grave. It did make me wonder about how living authors react when their secrets or unfinished works are revealed prematurely to the public. Below are 4 such stories.
The Midnight Sun Fiasco
Stephenie Meyer was made famous after the release of her vampire/human YA romance, Twilight, hit bookshelves. The series ran four books long and followed the story of Bella and her vampire boyfriend, Edward as they face danger, immortality and exposure in the Washington State town of Forks.
What fans may remember is that there was a fifth book in the making named Midnight Sun. However, after 150 unedited pages were leaked on an anti-twilight website, Meyer pulled the plug on the entire series. Later she released finished chapters of the book on her website, but the damage was done. Twilight fans felt betrayed and Twilight haters felt vindicated.
Potter Fans Not Phased by Leak
In June 2007 pictures of what appeared to be the finished book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the highly-anticipated ending to the HP series, was leaked on various social media and file sharing sites. The book, which was scheduled to be released the next month, had been shrouded in mystery with only the promise that two main characters were going to be killed off.
Harry Potter fans were unphased, as J.K. Rowling herself seemed a little shaken by the experience, saying they didn’t want to know how the book ended or who got killed until they read the story for themselves.
Who is Robert Galbraith?
Apparently, this past summer, an employee at Russells law firm in London, England confided in a friend the true identity of the new crime novelist and it was later leaked to the Sunday Times. Rowling felt betrayed and filed suit against the firm who later was made to pay an undisclosed amount to The Soldiers’ Charity as part of their settlement.
Cancer of the Pseudonym
Stephen King was an instant success with the release of his first book Carrie. But King wanted to do a social experiment to see if he could make lightning strike twice. He published a handful of novels under the name of Richard Bachman with mediocre success. However, there were always rumors that King may be behind the Bachman novels.
When DC bookseller Steve Brown received a pre-released copy of THINNER. by Richard Bachman, he was almost certain that King wrote the book. After doing some research, Brown was able to tie Bachman to King and contacted the author to find out the truth. King came clean in an interview to the bookseller who published it in The Washington Post.
At first King seemed OK with the leak, but later lamented the fact that he had been found out because sequential novels to be released under the Bachman name may have finally helped to prove his social experiment a success. Finally, King declared Richard Bachman dead of cancer of the pseudonym, although Bachman has been known to be resurrected from time to time.
The more hype that’s built around a book series or an author, the more people can’t help but let out the little secrets they know. In Meyer’s case, Midnight Sun was probably drafted before Twilight had even been published. Over the next four years, she’d learned so much that it was inevitable she would need to make some changes. Likewise, Rowling couldn’t get away from her famous name related to Harry Potter. Galbraith was untested on the market and would have proven Rowling’s worth as a genuine writer. As for Salinger, I’m just happy he was already gone by the time the stories leaked. And for all you Walking Dead fans out there, come February please be courteous to those of us who watch a few days later.
What other famous literary leaks do you know of?