Monday, June 27, 2011

The J.K. Rowling Conundrum

Currently re-reading - Gotcha! by Christie Craig

Everyone in publishing is talking about J.K. Rowling's announcement for Pottermore.  I'm not going to bother linking because everyone else already has.  And unless you've been shacking up with the Geico dudes that live under rocks, I'm sure you've seen it.

With this announcement, a lot of people, both Trad and Indie, have converted to Little-ism and are running around screaming about the sky collapsing.

Seriously, people?

How exactly is Joanne going solo with her e-rights going to affect moi?  Or vous?

I considered setting up my own website for sales.  It lasted all of .329 seconds because I'm well aware I don't have the name recognization of a Bob Mayer, much less a J.K. Rowling.  Frankly it makes sense for her to do so.  Why give money to someone for your own idea?

Say it  with me, people.  Yog's Law--The money flows to the writer, not away.

So the middlemen are now whining that Joanne is taking money away from them.  How exactly?  They've refused to acknowledge the possibility of e-books for nearly 20 years.  Now that the paradigm's shifted to where consumers love e-books, all of the sudden they're interested?  I can't say that I feel sorry for them.

Joanne was a smart cookie by keeping her erights.  The same way George Lucas was brilliant thirty-five years ago by keeping the merchandise licensing for Star Wars.  Hey, 20th Century Fox didn't give a shit about toys and books, so they thought, Yeah, let's throw the dumb kid a bone.

As for Joanne's decision affecting indies?  Raise your hands if you write kids' books.  Out of all of you with your hands up, how many of you really believe lightning will strike you?

First of all, I write adult books.  Very adult books.  While Joanne and I may have some overlap in customers interested in our product, I'm not worried.  This is not a zero-sum game, people!  Just because one of you buys the e-version of Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone for your kid or grandkid doesn't mean you won't buy one of my Seasons of Magick for that special spouse time after the kids (or grandkids) are tucked in.

Second of all, Harry Potter is a publishing phenomenon.  How many of us can replicate this kind of word-of-mouth popularity?  We can't compete with this kind of viral event, nor should we try.  Hell, Joanne never intended any of this craziness to happen.  So really, folks, it's like comparing apples to lunar rocks.

The only thing I'm doing to imitate J.K. Rowling is to write the best damn book I know how.  I strongly suggest y'all do the same.


  1. I hear a lot of people bitching on both sides of this...doesn't she have enough money...shouldn't she put them up for free...can't the published writers stay with their publishing houses...I usually don't thing I will say is that there are a ton of readers out there...and for that I'm thankful--shouldn't everyone be thankful!

    Great post, Suzan!

  2. Yeah, Tess, I lurrvved the comments about giving her books away for free.

    I'd also like GM to give me a free '11 Corvette. Don't they make enough money, too?