She published a book under a pen name, using a traditional publisher.
It didn’t make a huge impact.
Let’s think about this for a moment:
I’m pretty sure that anything that JK Rowling writes is as good, or even better, than her writing in Harry Potter.
So why didn’t the book have huge sales and massive followings and become a household name?
Because traditional publishers are risk-adverse, especially for “new” authors. While they may publish a book by an known, the amount of marketing effort they’ll give that book is limited at best.
And why is this a good thing for independent self-published authors?
First off, we have to understand that any book written by someone as well known as JK Rowling would be launched through a media tsunami with press releases, a news junket, author interviews and a book tour.
Very few authors receive this red-carpet treatment so we start out with an unfair disadvantage.