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Posts tagged ‘J. K. Rowling’

Books On Top of 2012

From Publisher’s Weekly
by Gabe Habash – 04 January 2013

The Bestselling books of 2012

logo-transHalf of the top 20 bestselling books of 2012 in print were either Fifty Shades titles or Hunger Games titles, and only one book not written by E.L. James or Suzanne Collins—Jeff Kinney’s latest Wimpy Kid title—cracked the one-million-copies-sold mark for the year, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks 75%-80% of print sales. Authors with multiple bestselling books extended past James and Collins, too: for print, Kinney and Bill O’Reilly had two books each in the top 20; for e-books, George R.R. Martin and Sylvia Day had two books in the Amazon Kindle top 20, further proving readers’ preference for fiction when reading electronically (No Easy Day was the only nonfiction book to make Kindle’s top 20).

What this means is that, in 2012, books not part of a successful series or brand had a much tougher time, at least at the very top of the bestseller lists. Even books from bestselling authors did not do as well as books from bestselling series, as Fifty Shades and the Hunger Games topped big-name authors like John Grisham and James Patterson, the latter not appearing on any top 20 list. One book that bucked that trend was Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which crossed 700,000 copies sold on BookScan just before the year ended. Flynn sold over 100,000 more copies than J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, and was only a few thousand copies behind Rick Riordan’s The Mark of Athena, to make her book the #14 bestselling print book of 2012. The discrepancies between Nielsen’s top 20 and Amazon’s top 20 (both print and Kindle) remained consistent with PW’s 2012 midpoint analysis of book sales: reference and self-help books see a huge percentage of their sales from Amazon. The Official SAT Study Guide, StrengthsFinder 2.0, and the American Psychological Association’s official manual cracked Amazon’s print top 20, but did not make BookScan’s top 20. Another Amazon anomaly is Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, which snuck into the top 20 for print, despite being first published in 2010.

Read entire article & others at Publisher’s Weekly.

Only Two Potter’s To Go!

Harry Potter! Harry Potter! Harry Potter!”

In case you’ve been living on Mars and just returned to earth, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, is about to be launched on November 19th. The film, adapted from the last book in the series by J. K. Rowling, is about Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione searching for Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes, which are the secret to his possible immortality..

What’s so great about this film and the previous movies, is that not only are kids of all ages and both genders, scarcely able to restrain their excitement, but adults, myself included, can also barely contain our ecstasy.

Having my wife read each of Rowling’s seven books out loud to our youngest son was always magical. It just so happens that our son’s chronological age almost matches the students at Hogwarts year after year. He is now almost 18, just like the characters in the book and films and has read some of the books 2 or 3 times.

Our first reaction to hearing about any of the books being displayed on the silver screen was “Oh no! They’ll ruin it! How could the reality of a movie ever compare to the ones the author has created in our minds?” Everyone who has read the stories had there own idea of how each character sounded and acted. How could anyone give justice to Harry Potter? How could anyone match a million different personal images and visions?

After the initial shock wore off, we began to realize that the movies could be enjoyed for itself, separate from the books.The directors and screenwriters didn’t have to follow Rowling’s words exactly as they were written. She said herself that a movie is a movie, a different medium and one shouldn’t expect it to be like a book.

The first good news, after hearing about the movie versions, was that the author insisted the actors be less known English children. Which worked wonderfully, even though they are now known around the world. The second was that they were going to take as much time as needed to produce the films. If the last films in the series are as good as the previous ones, then the wait and hype will have been well worth the apprehension.

What is it about this boy with a lightening scar on his forehead that has kids and adults panting like sheepdogs to see the film? Here are a few of the time-tested ingredients.

1. Place what appears to be an ordinary boy in unbelievable circumstances. Have him raised in a home where he is hated, then adopted by a family of wizards, with children his age, who love and adore him.

2. Make him someone special, like the only person to ever survive an attack by “he who must not be named”.

3. Throw in all the dynamics, frustrations and complications of being an adolescent and teen.

4. Mix it up with the English school system run by benevolent and terrifying wizards and witches.

5. Add a game called Quidditch that is a cross between soccer and hockey played on broomsticks.

6. Provide some intriguing, funny and/or frightening monsters, dragons and ghosts.

7. Write amazingly sharp and witty vocabulary and dialogue.

8. Make it accessible and understandable for all ages.

9. Top it all off with good versus evil.

10. Voila, you have the adventures of Harry Potter.

Now, if you see a strange family with lightening bolts painted on their foreheads and wands in their hands camped out in front of the theater at midnight on Nov. 19th, you’ll know it’s just another bunch of those crazy Potter fans trying to get in ahead of the crowd and I’ll probably be one of them.

P.S. Emma Watson (plays Hermione): If you happen to read this, will you please get in touch with our son Shona and ask him out on a date. He talks about you all the time and is willing to travel to Rhode Island and meet you at any time. He’s only a few years younger than you, has your picture on his wall and thinks of applying to Brown just to meet you before you graduate. Contact me directly and I’ll pass on your invitation.

As Rich As J. K. Rowling.

If I got paid for every rejection I’ve received from past queries I’ve sent to magazines, newspapers, journals and book publishers, I’d be as rich as J. K. Rowling.

When I started taking writing seriously (again) about twenty-five years ago, I sent out a column to the local weekly magazine and had a nice reply saying they would like to print it. I was ecstatic and literally jumped up and hit my head on the door frame. Luckily, for my head, I was able to eventually contain myself and start on the next project. “Hell,” I thought, “If getting published is this easy I’ll be a successful writer in a few months.”

Reality soon set in and I received at least fifty rejection slips in a row. Most were quasi-sincere apologies. “Please excuse this form letter, but we get so many submissions it is not possible to personally reply to them all. Your submission has been carefully reviewed. Our decision to not use it at this time is based on numerous factors and is no reflection on your writing.” Some were more personal, yet just as maddening.

“Thank you for thinking of us. We liked your story, but it wasn’t quite right for our focus.”

“The focus of your idea was well done, but the writing lacked clarity.”

“Your presentation of the material is very good, but we recently did a similar piece.”

“You are a gifted writer. Good luck.”

“You write well, but your book doesn’t fit our plans. You may want to try a smaller publisher who specializes in your genre.”

“We appreciate your finely written story, but we are a small publisher and have to be very selective. You may want to consider a larger, more diverse publishing company.”

Within months I had gone from the ecstasy of my first published piece to a continuous stream of rejections. I became a manic-depressive insomniac who was willing to walk on hot burning coals to have my writing accepted, let alone occasionally paid for.

Slowly, year after year, as my writing improved and my ability to ascertain which markets were more appropriate for my nonfiction and fiction, I began to make the great leap forward having only ninety-eight out of a hundred queries rejected instead of the previous hundred and ninety-nine out of two-hundred! My odds were increasing by one to two-percent annually. At that rate I would soon have a hundred percent success by the time I was one thousand years old!

A transforming and sanity-saving moment occurred while writing late one night, when I realized that I had to write because I LOVE writing MORE than getting what I write published. This attitudinal shift turned me away from the self-defeating behavior of a masochist scribe, into a peaceful warrior who writes for the joy of the creative process.

Yes, it is always a thrill when someone accepts something I have written, but luckily I was graced with the insight that I AM a writer, whether others acknowledge that fact or not and the more I practice, the better it gets. Rejection letters come and go, but I no longer take them to heart. I wouldn’t shy away from a six-figure advance for my next best seller, but I don’t live my life waiting for it to happen.

If you can’t live without writing, then write. Write every day, as if your life depended on it. Write, write and rewrite. Be open to constructive editing and commentary from others, but never disregard what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Writing for publication is like preparing a good meal. Even if what you cook is meticulously prepared it may not suit someone else’s tastes. Keep trying new recipes and spices. Sooner or later someone will savor the dish you’ve concocted and you’ll get to enjoy the main course of a writing life and the delicious dessert of publication and pay.

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