Thursday, June 28, 2007

What Does Harry Potter Do To A Debut?

Ordinarily I post some debut news every week, but the debut news this week seems to be . . . no news. The closest to a debut that I found was David Anthony Durham's ACACIA, but he's an established novelist breaking into fantasy, not an entirely new novelist.

This brought a question to my mind. What on earth is the next Harry Potter novel going to do to the fiction publishing scene in a few weeks? What havoc is it already wreaking? Lisa and Jennifer (and Emily, if she's listening) -- did you have any trepidation with your novel being released so close to the great HP release? This is like the book of the century. What's a debut novelist to do to get noticed amid the uproar?

That's why I'm thinking of declaring the week of July 22 as Debut Novelist Week. Yes, that's the day after the HP release. Go ahead, buy your Harry Potter novel. But buy a debut novel at the same time and read it first! And most important, blog on it!

Yes, I know. We're all dying to know for once and for all whether Snape is really evil or not. We're dying to know if Harry will even survive this book We're dying to know if Sirius will come back (at least I am). But you've waited this long. Surely you can wait a few more days, and it would mean so much for a debut novelist to get some buzz during Harry Potter week.

What do you think? Am I completely nuts for even thinking of such a thing?


Kimber An said...

I have a confession to make. I've never read a Harry Potter book or watched any of the movies. The closest I got was reading the author's biography. I may read the first one simply for my own education as a writer. The premise never interested me. Strange, but true.

Tia Nevitt said...

That's exactly the reason I started reading them. They didn't actually suck me in until book 3.

Jennifer Estep said...

I wasn't too worried about Karma Girl since my book came out May 1, well ahead of the HP juggernaut. I would hate to have been released in July or August this year.

I'm actually more worried about Hot Mama, which comes out Nov. 6 -- at the beginning of the holiday season. It's not a holiday book, so it could get lost in all the tinsel and mistletoe.

Tia Nevitt said...

However, it might make a great gift!

Do you have any control over when your book is released?

David Anthony Durham said...

Thanks for mentioning me. Although you did say, "The closest to a debut that I found was David Anthony Durham's ACACIA". The "closest"? Yes, I get the point. I do have three other books behind me and lots of good stuff that's come from them. But the fantasy world is very much treating ACACIA as a debut. I've a lot to prove to them, and the fact that I've been publishing in other areas for a while often counts against me - at least at the start.

But I'm not complaining. My relationship with publisher helped a lot. They put some considerable resources and expertise behind the pre-pub build-up, and that's helped a lot. And it stems from the fact that I have a long-term relationship with them.

On the other hand, Harry Potter trumps everyone. I'd be very concerned having a debut come out near Potter time. New novels have such a short window - a couple of weeks, really - to get their footing. It's hard no matter what, but Potter affects everything else in publishing. It's weird, and the effect isn't just about what people are buying or not. Rowling's books affect the chain of book distribution, the capacity for printers to print books, review time, and they take up an awful lot of space in the bookstores - space that somebody else isn't getting. It's kind of a big deal.

But there’s always something out there (more than on thing, really) that will bump and shift the fate of our books. It’s part of the many things that’s risky and out of our control about making a life as writers. Oh well, though, it’s worth it!


Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for stopping by! I'm always delighted when authors pop over. The last three authors that I've featured here have been entirely new, although I admit that I didn't consider your scenario when I dreamed up this site.

Thanks for your insights. I suspected that it was so, which is why I put up this post.

Everyone, if you want to check out David's book, here is the Amazon Link. (I hope I got that link right.)

David Anthony Durham said...

Again, thanks Tia!

And, by the way, this a great blog theme you have here. It's different from so much of what's out there in it's focus. And I certainly know new authors need all the help they can get!



Tia Nevitt said...

Thank you! It's been great fun!

John Dent said...

I like the HP books, but I'm not sure I see why they're that popular.
It seems to me that there's a certain demographic that the first 3-4 books are really aimed at, so I guess it shouldn't come as such a surprise.

Thanks for the link, Tia! :)