Monday, March 21, 2011


I have a great admiration for fiction authors.  Try as I might, I'm just no good at making up stories. Oh, I know.  There are no truly unique plots or characters.  They're all spins on stories that have been floating around since the beginning of time.  

Still.  I can't do it.  

What I find even more amazing is when an unheard of author manages to 1) write a story and 2) find a publisher.  Because from what I understand about the publishing business (which is admittedly very little), it's extremely hard to break in at all.  In fact, if you manage to get your book on the shelf by any of the major publishing houses you should consider yourself lucky. 

But to write a series of (mediocre) books, get them published when you're an unknown, and then manage to catch lightening in a bottle by having those books touch a nerve and hit the stratosphere in popularity?  That's like winning the multi-million dollar lottery.  

Yet it's happened twice in the past decade.  Of course I'm speaking of Harry Potter* and Twilight**. To a lesser degree, you can throw in The Hunger Games, although that one is far from reaching critical mass at this point.  Not to say it won't, of course.  It goes without saying that all three series were written for a younger, more impressionable audience.  Accident?  Doubtful. 

I simply don't remember books turning into hot commodities when I was a kid.  I don't remember midnight lines around the corner at bookstores when the next installment of a Nancy Drew or OZ series hit the stands. (Granted, that might be because they had all been published for decades by the time I got to read them.) My friends and I got excited about Judy Blume books, but none of those books were ever made into a (/n appallingly bad) theatrical release or had characters from said books turned into creepy looking figurines:  

Granted, the concept of merchandising is hardly new.  Disney got that ball rolling back in the 30's with Snow White and it's been around ever since.  And of course the third millenia doesn't have a monopoly on teen idols.  I think it's fair to say Rudolf Valentino gets the nod on starting that trend.  
But to garner a wildly successful franchise that originated from a set of books, as opposed to music performers, TV stars, or plots from the big screen seems like a new twist.  

Or am I missing something?  Please correct me if I am.  

Say you: How many times did you read Twilight et al and Harry Potter
Say me: No comment.  -> 

*Interesting, isn't it, that the actor who plays Edward from the Twilight Series also had a minor role in the Harry Potter series?  Two of the biggest franchises in the past decade and he was involved in both of them.  Talk about being in the right place at the right time.  Not to mention the fact that having chiseled good looks certainly doesn't hurt. 

**I do think the HP books are much, much better than the Twilight ones.  But Rowling's plot lines are over-the-top and I'm still mad at her for killing off Dobby. 


Carolyn said...

I've heard of toy boys but this is ridiculous! :)

Carolyn said...

And further to this entry, I will be having a memorial showing of National Velvet this Sunday afternoon in memory of the "violet eyes to die for" (With thanks to Gary Trudeau (sp?)of Doonsbury fame)