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TODAY   |  July 15, 2013

J.K. Rowling reveals book written under pseudonym

The author has sold nearly half a billion copies of her Harry Potter novels, but up until this weekend, her latest book had sold only 1,500 copies in three months; no one knew she was the writer behind it. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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>>> else making headlines in britain, actually around the world this morning. j.k. rowling 's secret mystery novel . keir simmons in is in london with those details. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning. the harry potter novels sold half a billion copies worldwide, where as her latest book up until this weekend sold just 1500 copies in the last three months. that's because it contains a very special plot twist. nobody knew she was the one who had written it.

>> i may be transformed into a rat.

>> fans of the harry potter series know all about j.k. rowlings love for using hidden identities. but with her latest book, the mega author crafted a secret life to intimidate her art.

>> we were trying to run all over and find it.

>> fans around the globe raced to book shops sunday morning when rowling confirmed that an obscure novel released back in april, the cuckoos calling was pinned by her, not robert galbraith .

>> it slipped under our radar i'm afraid.

>> the book went from selling 1500 copies in three months to selling out everywhere. almost instantly.

>> first thing this morning the stray copies were scooped up as soon as the doors opened.

>> to find out that rowling was behind the mystery novel took a little real life detective work by the sunday times of london. it's staff noticed many similarities between rowling and the unknown galbraith like a shared editor, publisher and agent as well as in the writing style like incorporating handwritten fonts. a signature touch of rowlings. last year's the casual vacancy was met by a mixed reception. but the cuckoo's calling already gathered rave reviews from critics long before it was known to be her work.

>> there's a lot of pressure when you've had the kind of success she has had. i can understand why she would want to just put the book out there and have no expectations and no pressure.

>> fans would be wise to remember that when dealing with the woman behind the world of harry potter , things might not always be what they seem.

>> took you long enough.

>> and we're told she is writing more of these novels. i'm guessing they're going to be publishing and printing more too, guys.

>> i'll say. keir simmons , thank