The long-awaited announcement has finally arrived: J.K. Rowling is coming out with a brand new book. After a five-year break from publishing, she's signed a deal with publishing house Little, Brown for the mysterious upcoming project.
Rowling's remaining frustratingly tight-lipped about the details of her new novel—there's no title, plot synopsis, or publication date yet—but one thing's clear: it's not going to be anything like the Harry Potter series.
In fact, it's being billed as her first book for adults, which seems a little funny given how many adult Harry Potter fans there are, but I get what they're saying: don't expect this to somehow be an eighth installment in the Potter series.
Rowling released a statement about the (presumably INSANELY LUCRATIVE) publishing deal:
Although I've enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the 'Harry Potter' series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world. The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life.
What an utterly unique situation Rowling is in right now. On the one hand, she's got a massive built-in audience any publishing house would kill for—her Harry Potter books have sold more than 400 million copies in 67 languages.
On the other hand, she's got some equally massive expectations to live up to. It seems almost inevitable that anything that isn't Harry Potter is going to be a disappointment.
Rowling herself once said that she would prefer to write any subsequent non-Potter books under a pseudonym, although in 2003 she conceded that if she did so, the press would probably "find out in seconds":
I don't underestimate the investigative powers of the press, but I don't know what I'll do. (...) I do think back to what happened to AA Milne, and he of course tried to write adult novels, and was never reviewed without the mention of Tigger, Pooh, and Piglet. And I would imagine that the same will happen with me. And that's fine. God knows my shoulders are broad enough, I could cope with that.
Considering that the Potter series broke sales records around the world, I can't imagine that her new book will be on quite the same playing field success-wise. Still, Rowling has certainly proven her ability to write stories with mass appeal—the only question is, will readers give her a chance for this new work to stand alone on its own merit? Or is she doomed to live in Harry's shadow forever?
Personally, I'm pretty excited to see what she's come up with. What about you?
Image via J.K. Rowling