Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, June 16, 2008

"If J.K. Rowling did it, why can't I?"

I read a lot of things that young writers are saying about writing and being a writer/aspiring novelist on the Internet. Wanna know what's really starting to be a thorn in my side? That whole J.K. Rowling idea of success.

So help me, if I read one more writer say something like "well, J.K. Rowling did this with her books" or "but it worked that way for J.K. Rowling," I am literally going to bang my head against the desk. AAH!!

I have a tip for aspring novelists, fantasy writers and series writers: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to be like J.K. Rowling with your work. Write YOUR OWN stories. Create your own worlds, your own characters (not some Harry Potter clone) and YOUR OWN success.

Yes, we know all about how J.K. Rowling earned more money than the Queen with her Harry Potter books. We know all about how she signed with a major publisher with her first book. But there's MORE to that than meets the eye. And, her success is not the norm! She was lucky but not every single aspiring author or wannabe novelist out there will score that same level of success if they do a Harry Potter knockoff. (Though many have tried.)

Write your own stories. Please. I know imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but if you REALLY want to make strides in the book world with your own book and your own series, don't try to imitate a successful author like J.K. Rowling. Try to create YOUR OWN stories, your own characters and your own success.

Don't try to write like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Dan Brown, Tami Hoag, Lisa Jackson or Mary Higgins Clark. Write like yourself. Write the way that YOU write, not the way that somebody else writes. Be aware of other bestselling authors out there and what's up with their books, but don't even think the same thing will happen for you if you try to be like them or do what they do. Write YOUR stories and create YOUR success. Be the next bestselling author who created their own kind of success and not from living in someone else's shadow or following in someone else's footsteps. Otherwise, it will end up being THEIR success, and not yours.

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