Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, March 16, 2007

This Week in Publishing 3/16/07

Publishing this week in:

Even though my Cardinal were destroyed by the Cardinals in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, I’m comforted by the fact that my bracket stands at a cool 15 out of 16 picks, with my one mistake being my sentimental Stanford pick. This unquestionably means that I will be wrong on all 16 games today.

Are you ready for some Potter mania? Scholastic just announced an astounding, astonishing, astronomical, and every other “ast” word you can think of, 12 MILLION COPY FIRST PRINTING for the new Harry Potter book. With a cover price of $34.99, this means that the first printing alone is greater than the GDP of 13 countries (yes, I did the math). Hey Tonga, better get cracking on that YA novel you’ve been putting off writing.

Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt happens to be an avid blogger, and he had his peeps compile a list of the ten biggest publishers. Find out which multinational corporation sells more books than all the other multinational corporations here. I’ll give you a hint. The biggest publisher starts with an R and ends with andom House.

And finally, as reported by Gawker, lit blog The Millions has thrown down with lit journal n+1 over an n+1 article that said lit blogs “represent a perfection of the outsourcing ethos of contemporary capitalism,” and where it was generally suggested that lit blogs were a nonserious medium (um, I’ll plead guilty on that one). In response, The Millions sent back this withering salvo (along with some interesting, thoughtful discourse): “[n+1]’s editors are prodigiously gifted, respected, drowning in indie cred,' and despite (or because of) such stimulating missteps as 'The Blog Reflex,' the journal provides a much-needed antidote to the inanities of consumer culture.” TAKE THAT, n+1.

Have a good weekend everyone!


Roxan said...

In my opinion Rowlings is a mediocre writer, but makes up for it with her attention to detail and the amount of research she does on her subject matter. This is why Harry Potter books sell.

Christopher M. Park said...

I actually think she's quite a good writer. I wasn't impressed with her first three books in the Harry Potter series, but I thought the latter three that have been published were absolutely top notch. Have you read them all? I think a lot of people that say she can't write stop after her first book or so. While that's understandable, I think it is also presents a pretty unrealistic picture of her actual writing abilities.


Kathy said...

I have raised three boys on the Harry Potter books, and it really doesn't matter if she is good or not. She has taken children (and adults) all throughout the world into her fantasy, so she is what she is, and that is successful, duh...
I only hope that I can come up with a story that entertains even just 10% of the readers she has. To be a great writer, if you don't get read, is inconsequential; be a well read author...make people talk about you...make people fuss, now that is fun!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

She's good. I'm of opposite opinion, though, about the books. When her editors obviously started stepping aside to let her ramble, the books dragged. The first three were much cleaner stories. And don't get me started on Scholastic dumbing down any British references/lingo in the American versions. Scholastic is huge, but having read fairly widely in the YA market (as a kid and teacher) I'm generally not impressed by their influence on the market.

Oh well.

L.C.McCabe said...


Perhaps you didn't know that the first two books in the Harry Potter series were written on a typewriter.

Yeah, remember those things or aren't you old enough to have composed on those contraptions?

Back when I was in college all we had were typewriters and you basically had to retype everything the night before it was due because that's when you finalized what you had to say. And putting footnotes on a page was a bear because you had to know how much room to leave to get things spaced correctly.

It is so much easier using a computer where you can decide "oh I think I'll just add a paragraph or two at the beginning of page 57." You can do that without having to potentially retype that page, and subsequent pages.

Jo Rowling's first two novels were tight, with little if any fat. Plus, she was trying to break into a market which said that kids wouldn't read long books. She had to keep her stories short and to the point.

I also remember her saying somewhere that when she first submitted the manuscript to agents that she found out that it needed to be double spaced. She had to go back and retype the whole thing!

Later with an upgrade in technology along with fame and popularity...she was able to stretch her literary wings a little more than she could with her first two novels.

As for her books, I am a recovering Harry Potter fandom addict. I've examined and analyzed her series in far more detail than I probably should have. I think I bled the life and wonder out it.

Christopher m. park, I disagree with your assessment about the last two books. I had some big problems with those two. I detailed some of those deficiencies in what I felt were errors of omission on my blog here:

That is if you are interested in seeing what an obsessed nitpicker finds fault with.

Oh and Nathan, sorry that your team lost, but hey, Michigan State won!

Go Green! Go White!


Scott said...

I thought each of the first three HP books was better than the last. The fourth was, for me, a step back, mostly because JKR let unfortunate little side plots interfere with the story. I disliked #5 so much that I wasn't sure I wanted to read #6. I thought 6 wasn't bad, maybe on par with the first book but not as good as #3, which remains my favorite.

I'm still feeling some post-traumatic stress from how much I disliked the fifth book, so I'm only sort of looking forward to the last one. I'm counting on a big ending, but there are so many things she could do to mess it up, like somehow reunite Harry and his parents.

We'll see.

ERozanski said...

Can't say that I have spent as much time as some of the other folks analyzing the Harry Potter books. I read them and I enjoy them. Are they works of literary greatness? No, but they are good stories with a well built world and engaging characters. If I can do those same things in my writing, I've done well.

Roxan said...

I have read all of her books and, yes, I do believe she has gotten better and more tighter with her writing. She's also not repeating herself constantly as she did with the first books.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

To date me, as well as keep with our BB theme, I was at Kansas University with Danny Manning and I was on campus with 30,000 of my closest friends when we won the championship (GO HAWKS!)

I handwrote several drafts of my first novel in my teenaged years, so a typewriter doesn't really impress me so much. And yeah, I do remember typewriters--I wrote many a paper and short story for college on a top end electric smith corona. My method has never kept me from saying what I meant to say in as many words as I needed(though that's not to say it didn't impact her style).

My opinion stands: I like the earlier books better. (The thing about the editing is a theory. Having spent some time on both sides of that table, and knowing what weight copious amounts of earning power gives anyone, I think it's a fairly educated guess.) There are things I like about the later books, and most every page has been an enjoyable read. She has a complicated series with dozens of named characters and she does it better than many.

Most of all, readers love them. I identify with and admire that. It's why I write, too--to entertain my readers.

beth said...

HP is good, but that last novel was way too darn long. I think it's at the point where the editors don't mess with it--why bother, they'll sell 80 gazillion copies anyway. I just wonder....will this be read in fifty years as "a classic" of our time? It would be interesting to see into the future and find out how long this sort of thing lasts!

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