Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Thank you JK Rowling - and thank you, readers!

So JK Rowling's latest sold 1,500 copies when published anonymously (having been turned down by one publisher who said it was "well written but quiet"). That's with proper distribution in bricks and mortar shops and with an endorsement by Val McDermid on the cover. It had good reviews too.

Although there has been the odd bitchy remark from fellow writers, JK Rowling does not attract the sort of loathing that is reserved for the likes of Dan Brown. This latest effort has probably increased the affection that many of us seem to feel for her. It was brave to publish anonymously and the good reviews suggest that there is more to her than hype. (Although I would have thought most people who had read her work should have realised that already.) Most importantly, it has made the rest of us feel a lot better about our own sales.

I got my latest royalty statement this week and, instead of burying my head in my hands and weeping, I consoled myself with the fact that, although I have practically no bricks and mortar distribution and Val McDermid doesn't know me from Adam, 'The White Rajah' has sold getting on for half as many copies as JK Rowling. The sad truth is that only 2% of published works sell more than 500 copies. I am delighted that 'The White Rajah' is part of that 2%.

Thank you to everyone who has put their hands in their pockets and bought a copy. Most of the people I know would say that they think that books are generally a good thing. But unless people are prepared to give unknown authors a chance, the reality is that we will end up with a few very popular authors producing new volumes featuring established characters while original writing that is not aimed firmly at the bestseller chart simply languishes and dies. JK Rowling has done everyone a favour by highlighting the difficulties that most authors face.


  1. Another writer's take on the same story: http://katiemjohn.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/you-cant-give-up-day-job-robert.html

  2. well done you...given your lack of pushiness on social media ...I am ambivalent about JKR ... I think it was a shame that her cover was blown ..accidentally or not, as it did demonstrate how 'hype' influences reading choices (for the record, my editor at Usborne was one of those who was sent her first Harry Potter book & didn't remember reading it at all...) Re Dan Brown...like that 50 Shades woman, it is all jealousy. BH is reading his books atm when he goes to work on the train, and yes, he does agree that they are a bit lacking in depth and some of the research is a tad dubious, but he says he's really enjoying them. Sorry, isn't ENJOYING a book supposed to be what readers do? I bet if all the carpers and critics sold in such numbers and made Brown's money, they wouldn't be complaining. You don't like his schtick - go write your own ''best seller'' .....