Digression. A few years back, the Boston Celtics were really bad. Their star trio Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish had retired, former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino had taken over as coach/GM, and… they were really really bad. But people in Boston still had all these high expectations for the team, and Pitino was fed up with people thinking the Celtics were going to be as good as the old glory days. So at a press conference he blew up on the media and gave a famous rant about how “Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through the door they’re going to be gray and old.” (clip below in all its awesomeness)
Well, I have something to say to aspiring authors out there: Harry Potter is not walking through that door.
I’ve been getting SO many queries lately talking about the “void” left by the end of the HARRY POTTER series. Inevitably these are queries from children’s fantasy writers with varying degrees of similarity to Harry Potter, who feel that people who are no longer buying HARRY POTTER books are pooling their money to spend on the next children’s fantasy book featuring wizards.
Yes, to be sure, in the publishing industry we’re all wondering and placing bets on what the next “next big thing” is going to be. But when has the “next big thing” ever been like the last big thing?
Aspiring authors do themselves such a disservice by trying to follow the publishing trends or trying to model their book on the ones that have been successful in the past. Trust me — Harry Potter is not walking through that door, THE DA VINCI CODE is not walking through that door and THE LOVELY BONES is not walking through that door. The next huge hit is not going to resemble the hits of the past.
The best thing to do is what J.K. Rowling did: she wrote a great book that was fresh and original and not at all trying to mimic what was popular at the time.