Will the Next “Harry Potter” Please Stand Up?
The latest candidate arrives under the aegis of the man who, as an editor at Bloomsbury, was the first to spot Potter’s potential, and who has gone on to publish the popular Cornelia Funke books. Barry Cunningham is now tipping a fantasy tale about a boy archaeologist, who discovers a world of thrilling adventure after digging a hole, as the next enormously big thing.Cunningham found the first of the books, Tunnels, after its joint authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams pooled their resources to self-publish a deluxe edition. The first print run, sold through Gordon’s local bookshop in Norfolk, apparently sold out within hours – a sensational success for a self-published book – and word reached Cunningham.
Lest you think Bloomsbury’s jumping the gun a bit with the idea of giving the self-published a wider audience, they’re far from alone. Random House will soon also be putting out a fantasy series called Marvelous World that began independently and that they are calling the "black Harry Potter". If anyone else can think of similar cases, I’d be intrigued to know if this is a two-book coincidence or indicative of a wider trend.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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