J.K. Rowling and the Sophomore Slump?

It was recently announced that J.K. Rowling is writing her first book for adults – and this book will have nothing whatsoever to do with the Harry Potter universe. On September 27, The Casual Vacancy will be available all over the world. A blurb about the book is located here.

If I was J.K. Rowling, I’d be a little apprehensive about releasing a totally new book. How many people will read the book for its own merits and how many people will be reading the book to compare it (in whatever ways they can) to the Harry Potter series? I know that if I ever read the book, it won’t be because the subject matter interests me (it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing I’d be into), but because it would be cool to see how Rowling’s writing style has changed to fit the needs of an adult audience.

I was also thinking that if Rowling wanted to, she would never have to write again. She’s one of the richest women in Great Britain, and one of the most famous authors in the entire world. The fact that she’s writing another book shows that she loves writing for its sake – that writing the Harry Potter series wasn’t simply a way to pull her out of poverty (although it did that and so much more).

All in all, I’m crossing my fingers that the book is good and that it is not compared to Harry Potter too much – although that will be very difficult, even though the books are from totally different genres. I don’t know why I feel so much anxiety over this. I would hate to hear critics slamming the book because it is highly unlikely that it will be as big of a hit as Harry Potter.

I know that if I wrote a successful book or series, I’d be extremely nervous about releasing something completely new and different. I’d fear a sophomore slump. But I suppose the main thing to keep in mind is that no matter who likes your book, or who dislikes it, you wrote it because you loved the characters and the story. And they brought you joy. 🙂

13 thoughts on “J.K. Rowling and the Sophomore Slump?

  1. It must be really scary but I’m kind of glad she’s doing something different so it will be harder to comapre to Harry. And I like she obviously has pasison for writing. I’ll read it as I’m curious what it will be like.

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  2. Yes, definitely. I guess that last part of the post relates to what you were talking about the other day – it doesn’t matter who reads it, as long as you love doing it. I’m sure she will get some good reviews. However I do worry, like you, that people will just be reading her book to compare it to Harry Potter. Although I’m sure she’s aware of that anyway.

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  3. There are a load of people already writing a bitter critique of the book without troubling to wait to read it. It will sell by the lorryload and everyone in the media will compare it to Harry Potter. JKR probably knows that if she wants to carry on writing, she needs to get the first post-Potter book out of the way. After this, she could knock out a novel a year quite happily I expect.

    But then maybe I know this because I really am JK Rowling but in disguise: http://nolanparker.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/a-cunning-plan/

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    1. It’s true that she’s going to have to get over the “hump” of the first book after Harry Potter in order to establish herself again. I never thought about that.

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  4. Yes, it does show that she loves writing, and I wonder what people will say. I have never heard any of the Potter books, for they do not appeal, or maybe it’s because they’re just so overhyped, I find the entire thing overrated.

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  5. Maybe she’s past the point of worrying what others think about her or her writing? After all, as you note, it’s not like she needs to sell any more books in this lifetime. 😉

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  6. I enjoyed reading this. It reminded me of my reading up on The Beatles and when Macca left and having to put up with the critics comparing his work to his Beatles stuff. He turned it around big style. The easy option would be not to work but that is not in JK’s nature. I hope it goes well.

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  7. The Beatles is a really good example. Also Orson Welles. What do you do when your first movie is often listed as the best American movie ever?. You make another movie.You move forward. For Rowling, her only other options are to become George Lucas (who apparently prefers fiddling with the Star Wars movies for the rest of his life — annoying pretty much all of his fans — to making a new movie), or J.D. Salinger (or Harper Lee).

    I’m looking forward to reading the book.

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    1. Yep. If you really love what you do, you’ll press on. And I definitely would not want her to “George Lucas” the Harry Potter series.

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