harry potter

Can First Time Authors Become Successful – Really?

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James Bond2
Gold-plated Royal Quiet Deluxe Portable Typewriter as used by Ian Fleming to write is first published novel in 1952, Casino Royal

First time authors, or, debut authors as they are usually referred to, can become wildly successful in fact. When Ian Fleming sat down to write the first book of what would become the “007” series of books based on James Bond, his fictional spy character, he couldn’t have known he was launching a multi-billion dollar franchise. Nor could a divorced and single mom, J.K. Rowling, probably imagine she was embarking on a life changing journey when she penned her first Harry Potter book. It goes without saying, there are many debut author failures as well. But every successful author started with their first published book and built upon it’s success.

Mega-successful authors will tell you they’ve become better writers over time and while sequel success is the envy of every aspiring author, often as not, their favorite book was their first one. That was their labor of love. For readers, they too receive their greatest thrill when discovering a new work by an unknown and first-time published author. It’s like finding an Easter Egg. Of course we all love to buy our favorite author’s next bestseller when it’s hot off the press, but serial publication authors can lose their edge over time, especially when their craft turns from quality titles to quantity. So, the quest for talented and hungry new authors continues to drive the publishing industry today.

Famous debut authors have inspired other authors to brave writing that great American novel of theirs. Some have changed our world with a single manuscript that found it’s way into the right hands. Now, with the advent of on-demand and self-publishing, there is no longer a barrier to entry for aspiring new authors. They can finish their manuscript and publish it within minutes. Getting published is the easy part, but standing above the crowd of millions of other new titles, so that readers can find them, is growing even more difficult. That is the still a fundamental role of a good publisher – getting their author’s titles visibility among the masses of new titles hitting the market every day.

But, no matter how the publishing industry evolves over the years to come, it all starts with an author burning with a passion to write, somewhere, sitting down by themselves and hammering out that first manuscript. If you are that author, reading this and wondering if you should persevere and will it all pay off for you someday, the answer is – it very well could. Why not and why not you?

Here are a few inspiring examples of other authors you may recognize who did just that.

A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey, 1962

Carrie, Stephen King, 1974

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, 1979

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, 1997

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini, 2003

Young Adult Books Attract Growing Numbers of Adult Fans

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The Hunger Games and countless others are engaging a loyal following among those old enough to vote, drink and hold a mortgage

Reposted from: Young Adult Books Attract Growing Numbers of Adult Fans on Bower.com

New Providence, NJ – September 13, 2012 – More than half the consumers of books classified for young adults aren’t all that young. Fully 55% of buyers of works that publishers designate for kids aged 12 to 17 – nicknamed YA books — are 18 or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 44. Accounting for 28 percent of sales, these adults aren’t just purchasing for others — when asked about the intended recipient, they report that 78 percent of the time they are purchasing books for their own reading. The insights are courtesy of Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age, an ongoing biannual study from Bowker Market Research that explores the changing nature of publishing for kids.

“The investigation into who is reading YA books began when we noticed a disparity between the number of YA e-books being purchased and the relatively low number of kids who claim to read e-books,” said Kelly Gallagher, Vice-President of Bowker Market Research. “The extent and age breakout of adult consumers of these works was surprising. And while the trend is influenced to some extent by the popularity of The Hunger Games, our data shows it’s a much larger phenomenon than readership of this single series.”

Indeed, thirty percent of respondents reported they were reading works in The Hunger Games series. However, the remaining 70 percent of readers reported a vast variety of titles (over 220), only two of which commanded more than five percent of overall sales – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn.

“Although best sellers lead, there’s a long tail of rich reading that has interesting implications for the publishers of YA books in terms of discovery and consumer relationships,” said project editor Kristen McLean.

The trend is good news for publishers as these adult consumers of YA books are among the most coveted demographic of book consumers overall. Additional insights from the Bowker study show these readers are:

  • Early adopters. More than 40 percent read e-books, equivalent to the highest adoption rates of adult genres of mystery and romance
  • Committed: 71 percent say that if an e-book of their desired title was unavailable, they would buy the print book instead
  • Loyal: Enjoying the author’s previous books has a moderate or major influence over the book choice for more than two-thirds of the respondents
  • Socially active: Although more than half of respondents reported having “no interest” in participating in a reading group, these readers are very active in social networks and often get recommendations from friends.

Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age is sponsored in the U.S. by Little Brown for Young Readers, Random House, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Disney, Penguin, DK, and Macmillan. To order a copy, contact Bowker Market Research at MarketResearch@bowker.com.

Bowker Market Research is a service of Bowker, an affiliate of global information company ProQuest.

About Bowker® (www.bowker.com)
Bowker is the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. Creators of products and services that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, the company also generates research and resources for publishers, helping them understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker, a ProQuest affiliate, is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories. The company is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, with additional operations in England and Australia.