Thursday, 9 April 2015

H is for...Harry Potter Syndrome

Welcome back! Today's A to Z blog challenge post is all about the letter H!

We've all heard the story. J.K Rowling struggled to get Harry Potter published, being rejected by a dozen publishers before Bloomsbury decided to take a gamble on it. And the rest, as they say, is history. (Although now that I've read through this article, providing the timelines are indeed correct, it doesn't seem to me like it took that long for HP to get published at all - not when I've heard about authors struggling for years and years to get their work recognised).

Anyway, ever since this phenomenon occurred, we're all well aware that publishers continue to try and replicate that success - pushing new releases in reader's face, telling the press that title X is the 'next big thing', or that book Y is 'going to be as big as Harry Potter.' But what about authors? Are they just as guilty of this? Do authors, especially first time authors, have this unrealistic expectation of themselves and their work? Do they just expect to write the one book, sit back and watch the money roll in?

I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to daydreaming about my books hitting the big time, rolling in the cash, getting a film deal, getting to be a producer on said films and generally just being successful as a writer.

But here's the thing. Realistically, that isn't going to happen. I know that. As much as I'd love it to, for now, I'll be so so happy if only one person reads my book and then leaves me a decent review. That's literally my only goal right now. For now, my dreams of rolling with the big YA authors and attending my own movie premiere will have to wait - and that's okay. It's not admitting defeat, or saying it's never going to happen - it might, but equally, I might win the lottery tomorrow and never have to work again. It's down to chance/fate/luck or whatever you want to call it, and hard work.

Because that's the crucial bit - writing is hard work. Promoting and getting readers to read your book is hard work (especially for indie authors). But here's the other thing - success only comes from hard work. If you're prepared to keep writing, and keep going, then eventually, you'll get to where you want to be. You may very well be that person who gets that movie deal based on your first book - and if you are, congratulations! That's fantastic! Let me know how you did it ;)! But to all first time authors out there - and I'm including myself in this, as a constant reminder to myself - don't fall into the trap of suffering from 'Harry Potter Syndrome' - don't forget that even J.K. Rowling had to suffer from setbacks before all her hard work paid off. Don't be disappointed if your first book isn't a success. Keep writing. Release another book. Write some more. Repeat. If you're determined to succeed, you'll get there in the end.

I'm going to keep working as hard as I can as a writer, and at the end of the day, that's all I can do - make each and every one of my books as good as they can possibly be.

And I'll save those big daydreams for the times when I switch off at work ;).


  1. Great post and an important reminder. The press always feature those amazing stories of 6-figure, multi-book deals, or - the latest one that left me a little low - a 16 year old with a 3 book deal. They are definitely not the norm.

    Good luck with your book :-)

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

    1. Aww what?! I haven't heard that one! That is depressing. Never mind, we'll keep soldiering on, and that'll be us one day ;)

  2. This is great advice. There's no harm in having big dreams but if you want to get anywhere close to them you have to set more realistic goals and work towards them one at a time. It's a slow and difficult process, as you said. But so are all worthwhile dreams.

    1. Thanks, Tizzy! Exactly - if you're really serious about something, you'll probably have to work hard to get it - but it'll be worth it in the end :)

  3. I'm in the same place. Dream big. Why not? And I still love Harry Potter.

    1. Thanks, Stephen! There's no harm in dreaming big - I do it all the time. I still love Harry Potter too :)


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