Who will top J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter Series?
What is next now the series is over? With the ultra popular Harry Potter saga finished, what books are children going to turn to? Is there another J.K. Rowling lurking out there, undiscovered somewhere? If so, what would that next adventure fantasy franchise look like? It seems that every ten or fifteen years or so a series comes along that captivates readers and moviegoers alike. First, there was The Lord of the Rings books. Along came Star Wars in the 80's. Then, Harry Potter and Twilight. What is next on the horizon?
An incredible success story
J.K. Rowling is to the publishing world as Michael Phelps is to Swimming. Her success has been unparalleled and has smashed records across many genres.
Rowling's seven "Gold Medal" books have achieved world dominance through their immense popularity. They have gained awards, honors and praise as well as criticism and controversy. Amidst it all, Harry Potter is a monolithic blockbuster. The commercial success of the novels, merchandise, films and video games has earned Rowling the title of the highest-earning novelist in history.
According to Wikipedia, "As of June 2008, the seven book series has sold more than 400 million copies and have been translated into 67 languages." That is the equivalent of Mark Spitz winning seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics. Spitz has accomplished what no other person has done before in swimming. Rowling has accomplished what no other person has done before in publishing.
Rowling's success is not just about merchandising, movies and record breaking book sales. It was an idea that got her started, hard work that built her career and passion for her readers that made her a huge success. In an early interview with kidsread, Rowling said, "I am an extraordinarily lucky person, doing what I love best in the world. I'm sure that I will always be a writer. It was wonderful enough just to be published. The greatest reward is the enthusiasm of the readers."
What makes Harry Potter popular?
What common threads do Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars have that make them so appealing to the masses? Each one, in their respective rights and time, are highly conceptualized products that capture the imagination of the public.
However, Harry Potter is a lot more than that. Harry Potter strikes at a number of age groups and interests. The books cross multiple genres and gives "something to everyone." Rowling's writing creates a powerful feeling of self-identification with the characters and deals with human emotions and social interaction. Harry Potter brings together kids and adults from various walks of life to share the same experience
Will there ever be another J.K. Rowling?
Harry Potter is at an end. The last book in the series is out and the movies are done. It draws us and the publishing industry to ask the great question: Will there ever be another J. K. Rowling?
Yes. There will be!
For 36 years, we wondered if there would ever be another Mark Spitz. We asked ourselves if anyone would match his seven gold medals in a single Olympics. We dared to ask ourselves if anyone would actually beat that record. Then, Michael Phelps came along. He proved to us that it is possible to match and beat what we thought impossible.
With Rowling's insurmountable achievements, it does seem that this too would be an impossible task to undertake. Anything is possible if you believe it enough!
To top Harry Potter, it is going to take a "Lucky" person with great enthusiasm, a creative story, a brilliant character and an incredible thirst to become the best!
What are kids going to read?
An article was published on this exact topic in a February 2007 issue of Entertainment Weekly. The article is titled The Final Chapter: Harry Potter Publisher Scholastic Faces a Future Without a Boy Who Lived, by Michelle Kung. Michelle writes, "The bittersweet goodbye also marks the end of an era for Rowling's American publisher, Scholastic, which has put more than 121.5 million Potter books in print since the saga began in 1998. So how will they handle life without Harry Potter? First, by cultivating franchises--like Meg Cabot's new Allie Frankle's Rules for Girls series and Cornelia Funke's popular Ghosthunters novels. The publisher is also banking that the future generations will catch Pottermania." She later writes, "Still, booksellers are mourning the loss of a phenomenon that has yet to be matched . . . of course, Scholastic does have some time to find its next cash cow."
There might be something out there!
That next "Cash Cow" will be from an undiscovered author. Somewhere there is an idea brewing for a series that will top Harry Potter and take the throne from J. K. Rowling. We will just have to wait and see what that is!