Did you hear it today? A global Huzzah! for JK Rowling’s newest venture, Pottermore. It’s got to be driving legions of Harry Potter fans crazy!
Although the writer is vague on the details (see the video below), one thing seems certain: Rowling is at the helm. She alone will be releasing the digital versions of her books, and will also be releasing new material. Without, it seems, a publisher.
I guess we really should have seen this coming from the Most Powerful Writer in the World. (Come on, you gonna call me on that? She had the movies done on her terms right down to them being released in the UK first. Not even famous writers like Stephen King or Paris Hilton have that kind of clout!) Last time I checked, which was three seconds ago, she has a net worth of $1 billion. For that money, she could buy her own publishing house if she wanted, or at least some people who know enough about publishing to get things off the ground.
It makes you wonder though — is this really self-publishing? Take a look at her website (which admittedly isn’t much yet) and her slick, Hollywood trailer/teaser, and you’ve gotta think what she’s doing is outside the realm of the average hack writer with a Screencast account.
Still, and this is what is most important I think, if publishing houses do disappear (or at least radically, radically change…), I foresee that people will point back to her announcement today and say that this was the watershed, the starting point of the New Publishing Age. Whatever that turns out to be. So June 23 — mark that day on your calendars.
I think we can learn from Rowling. It gives us new writers a very clear blueprint on how we can succeed at self-publishing ourselves in five simple steps:
- Ride a train to London and, en route, come up with a set of characters loved by millions around the world.
- Write seven books about their adventures.
- Have those seven books turned into eight blockbuster films.
- Get a great team of website designers, videographers, and of course publishering types.
- Launch your own imprint and make billions more.
See? Easy peasy.
On my own quest to literally take over the world, I got some good writing in tonight. I’m always amazed at how the story keeps evolving. One character came out of the blue today and demanded to stay in the story. This character must have felt the sword of Damocles or (in this case, worse) the red Strong pen dangling above because they were about to have their short fictional life snuffed. But in the end I agreed to let them stay, even though it meant cutting another character out. Well, I guess actually I’ll be dramatically cutting their lines, both past and future. (I haven’t told them yet, so don’t say anything.)
In any case, Happy Pottering!
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