Did you all hear that Harry Potter 8 will be out soon? It’s going to be written under the pseudonym J. K. Trolling.
I’ll admit that isn’t mine; I got it from Trade Chat.
As a self-published, indie author I have been asked my opinion on the whole J. K. Rowling pseudonym situation. The short of it? It doesn’t prove anything I didn’t already know and I don’t feel that it affects me at all.
For those of you that somehow haven’t heard, Rowling published another new book a few months ago but decided to write it under a different name. It came out that it was actually her book and it shot from a new book by an unknown author to superstardom just that easily.
I’ve read some opinion pieces in which people are calling on it as an example of the reason things are wrong with the publishing industry, demonstrating how difficult it is to break into things as an unknown (even with the backing of a publishing house already lined up beforehand like her new book). I can agree with that, but any new author could have told you that already. It is in every reader’s nature to seek out new books by authors they love. Past that, in the sea of authors that the reader doesn’t know, it is a tossup who they choose to try out. A tossup of advertising, word of mouth, timing, and luck. It makes sense that a book by an unknown would have lesser sales than the same book by a beloved author.
Rowling is a big name and I would say that she has earned that. She wrote a really great series of books that most of the world has read. She worked her bum off to get there too; she’s always on the list of authors that got tons of rejections before she lucked into that coveted “yes.”
Do some of us indie authors write just as well? Probably. Have some of us worked just as hard? I’m sure of it.
So what does this mean for me? How do I feel about the minuscule probability of my name, Heather Stone, becoming as well known as Rowling?
I write because I love it. I am happiest when I am wrapped up in my story, when I can’t write fast enough for my mind, when my characters surprise me. It is addictive. It is a need. I write because that inkling inside of me doesn’t give me another choice–and I see no reason to fight it. I think of it the same as I do my character’s natural need to use the abilities they were born with, however “magical” they might be. Perhaps that is why Rowling decided to use a psuedonym, free of the pressures and expectations she must be under.
I don’t write to make the bestseller lists. I don’t write with the financials of it in mind. I haven’t sought out publishing deals. Now that my first trilogy is complete, I am considering that option. I would love for more people to read my stories and it would be nice to make some money because of it. But if I don’t, if everything this has shown people holds true, I will still be here doing what I love.
Well said, Heather! I think you are right on target.
(Incidentally, I respond in pretty much the same way when people ask me about why I do Amazon reviews. Because I love doing them, that’s it! Not for money, not for recognition. I write them for ME.)
If you’ve ever seen the 2004 Phantom of the Opera movie’s “how it was made” segment, you’ll learn that the movie’s producers and directors purposely picked unknown actors to play the starring roles because otherwise “the roles would come with baggage”. I believe that all three actors, especially Gerard Butler (the Phantom) are doing much better career-wise now.
As a person, if your guess was correct, I definitely respect Rowling’s decision. I’m sure that it taught many book reviewers and readers a good lesson!