The first two chapters of J K Rowling's The Ickabog, released online, were viewed five million times in the first 24 hours, with visitors from over 50 countries flocking to The Ickabog website, Rowling's representatives have said.
The author's own website, www.jkrowling.com, saw a 5,000% increase in visitors in the day following the announcement of the new book while the children's competition to illustrate the title has already seen 248 submissions to US print publisher Scholastic, with Rowling sharing pictures on her Twitter feed.
The US publisher's website hit 1.5 million users, with engagement of 59,000 across Scholastic channels, while UK publisher Hachette Children's Group saw a 51,000+ reach and 6,000+ engagements.
Rowling announced she would be releasing the standalone fairytale for free online on Tuesday and has asked children to illustrate the published edition for her. Hachette Children's Group imprint Little, Brown for Young Readers will be the book's UK publisher, bringing out the title in print and e-book in November, while Audible will publish the audiobook.
The 60,000-word story is first being released online, with at least one chapter to be published every weekday on the dedicated Ickabog website. There will be 34 instalments in total.
Rowling originally wrote the tale — which is not Harry Potter-connected — over 10 years ago as a bedtime story for her younger children. On Twitter, the author said she had always intended to complete it but got sidetracked by her adult novels.
She wrote: “Over the last few weeks I’ve done a bit of rewriting and I’ve decided to publish The Ickabog for free online, so children on lockdown, or even those back at school during these strange, unsettling times, can read it or have it read to them."
Scholastic saw 55.5k total engagements on Facebook in the 24 hours since the annonucement. On Instagram, the trailer post was saved 216 times and sent in messages 358 times, with 2.5k total engament, and Scholastic also saw 1.2k total engagements on Twitter. Hachette India and Hachette Ireland achieved a reach of 13.5k and 4k respectively.
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