J.K. Rowling blew up the book market. The Harry Potter series has been read by gazillions of people in a million languages all over the world and on Mars.
She knew her genre – fantasy – and she knew who she was writing for – middle grade readers. In other words, elaborate fairy tales for children. She worked damned hard and was incredibly lucky, lucky, lucky.*
*If you don’t believe Rowling was lucky, talk to Vincent Van Gogh who sold one painting in his life, lived in poverty, and suffered from mental illness as well as disdain from just about everyone. Today his paintings sell for millions, but he benefits not one bit.
Do not count on becoming the next J.K. Rowling. You’re a guaranteed failure if you do. Write the best book you can. Know your genre and your intended audience. Even if you self publish, you need to know those two aspects of your story or you have no chance of marketing.
And if you have no chance of marketing, you might just as well write on napkins in a coffee shop and give Mom the whole packet when you’re done. At least she’ll be able to sop up your tears.
Be as inventive as your imagination and skill will allow you when writing. When marketing, you must trek the potholed path because you can’t count on being J.K. Rowling. Even she couldn’t count on success. She queried twelve publishers before being accepted by Bloomsbury.
Work damn hard, write well, know your genre, identify your intended readers, query till your computer bleeds, and you might get incredibly lucky, become published, and sell a few dozen books.
Now you can autograph a real book for Mom.
Thanks for believing in me.
Your kid the writer.
Just a Thought 38
Painting Spirit of the Night, 1879, by John Atkinson Grimshaw, courtesy Wikimedia Commons