Monday, July 15, 2013

Write A Good Book

So by now, you may have heard of JK Rowling's latest book, The Cuckoo's Calling, which was published under a pseudonym and sold a mere 1500 copies before the true authorship was revealed yesterday (and sales, consequently, skyrocketed.)  More on that, here.

I think this says so much about the industry. That beautifully reviewed, starred books, can still suffer from poor sales. That celebrity names sell books. That the quality of a book has little to do with it's success.

I find it all so fascinating.

Advice for new writers is always the same.  Before you think of finding an agent or a publisher, write a good book. It must start there.  And it must. But I think there's an important lesson here. That it's not everything.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Yeah, I saw reports that sales of her book went up 507,000% after her identity was revealed. (Although I'd like to see the math on that.)

    Seems unfair, doesn't it?

  2. I think JK Rowling's success is well deserved, but the book is no different yesterday than it is today. I've thought about this a lot, and my mission is still to write a good book. If I believe in it, it will be easier for me to pitch it... to an agent, to readers. I enjoy blogging very much, and when I focus too much on building a readership rather than connecting with the audience I already have, I lose my voice. I have no idea where this thinking will lead me though, but I know I'll make myself crazy trying to "fit in" in the publishing industry (as much as I want to be a part of it.)

  3. I thought this was pretty interesting, too--although the best part is that even before the reveal the book had been selling extremely well (I'm sure any debut novelist, at least, would have been thrilled) and receiving excellent reviews. I know it's a business and the publisher wants to make as much as they can, but I wish they had held off a little longer. JK must have enjoyed the anonymity--because I noticed over the past day the reviews have plummeted while the sales skyrocketed. Amazing how many people will hate something just because of its author.

  4. Yeah, I found the whole thing interesting, too. And surprised that the true authorship didn't leak sooner - seems that nothing ever stays a secret very long b/c of the Internet :)

  5. Hmm. Good marketing, I feel, on the publisher's behalf.

    I do have to say that I did not enjoy her adult book and wonder how much better this one is.

    I applaud the fact that she writes because that is what she does, regardless of her wealth and that she persevered to bring Harry Potter to the world.

    I find it so sad that there are many, many great writers who miss out because a name can sell a book. However, there is more at an author's disposal now, so perhaps, just putting one's work out there, when one feels that it is 'publishable' is the way for the majority to go.

    For my own part, I have found that publishers feel safer with 'more of the same' rather than taking a chance; that, too, is more about money and sales, on the whole.

    How is your writing going, Melissa???

  6. I wish I could say that good books eventually rise to the top but you're right, sometimes lesser known authors get ignored. Makes you realize how much word of mouth is worth, huh?