So, within the next 24 hours or so the final Harry Potter book will be out.  There will be hype.  There will be hoopla.   Some people will be happy.  Some will probably be frustrated.  Some will soon feel the end to the euphoria of waiting for the next book to arrive.   

But in the end the world will move on.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm already tired of seeing things referred to as "the next Harry Potter."   Umm...no.  Really, they aren't.  Just as no matter how much people tout something as the next Tolkien, it isn't.   A lot of it seems to me like marketing hype.  But people, please stop.  Yes, you mega-corporate types hoping beyond hoping that you are going to latch on to the next phenomenon that breaks the rules.  You see, those of us who liked Harry Potter didn't like it because of your marketing.  Sure, some of us may have gotten swept up into it, the same as all the folks who got swept up into The DaVinci Code.  But you just can't make it happen on the first book.   Harry Potter built up its audience one novel at a time.   Yes, really.   Same with Dan Brown.  You're just going to have to take chances on authors and give them more than one, or two books to prove themselves.   Just like you TV networks, you need to give a TV show more than 12 episodes to find its audience.   FOX if you think I'm snarkily referring to you and your dropping of Firefly, I am.

There seems to be this idea that people aren't patient anymore.  That we're all in this give it to me now philosophy.  That we can't take our time and let things grow on us as an audience.  If it doesn't knock us off our feet in the first episode, or first few chapters, or first novel, we'll never like it.  In my opinion that's just plain BS.   I can't count how many books didn't get me hooked from word one.  But many of my favorite authors missed the boat on the first glimpse.   Anne McCaffery didn't impress me in the opening chapters of Dragonflight.  I had to start Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel thrice from the beginning.   But in both cases, I was very pleased that I did.  

I didn't care for the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer I watched.  But it turned out to be an enduring favorite.   Heroes started out rather slow.  It wasn't really all whiz-bang from the get go.   But NBC believed in it, and the audience grew.  Now it's up for an Emmy.  

You see here's the thing: when something is a phenomenon because it defies all normal predictions.  It does so because it breaks the rules.  Things become popular despite marketing.   Word of mouth happens because people are willing to give things more of a chance when their friends recommend it.  Not because of a clever marketing scheme.  I never gave something a second chance because of a billboard, or a commercial, or a banner ad.  Things endure in our hearts and minds because we make the connection with it, not because we're told to by some complete stranger.

So, while the world is engaging in some of the last bits of Pottermania, and there are those out there determined to spoil it as much as possible.  I just might disengage.  I'm going to find something else to do with my time.  I like Harry Potter, and look forward to picking up my reserved copy.  Just possibly I might even venture forth tomorrow at Midnite to pick it up.  But then I'll hand the book over to my Lovely Wife, and let her enjoy.  Then, I'll have a go at some other things that are waiting for me.  A little writing, perhaps finishing up a map I've been working on.   Some reading that needs to be done.   And until I've read the book, I'll be sticking my fingers in my ears going: la-la-la-la-la-la whenever anyone chooses to talk about it until I have.   Then after, whenever some publishing house tries to convince me they have the next Potter series, I will again stop up my ears and ignore them.  There are so many good writers out there with work that deserves to be read, I can't stomach seeing them all dismissed, while a company concentrates on trying to predict, and nudge along, the next great phenomenon.  Yes we do want to belong to the great crowd of people who all are on the in, all loving that great new thing.   But we want to be a part of that on our own terms, not on those of the corporate machine.  

Trust your editors.   Trust your authors.  Give them time and space to work.  That's when the real magic happens.
Tags:
So, within the next 24 hours or so the final Harry Potter book will be out.  There will be hype.  There will be hoopla.   Some people will be happy.  Some will probably be frustrated.  Some will soon feel the end to the euphoria of waiting for the next book to arrive.   

But in the end the world will move on.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm already tired of seeing things referred to as "the next Harry Potter."   Umm...no.  Really, they aren't.  Just as no matter how much people tout something as the next Tolkien, it isn't.   A lot of it seems to me like marketing hype.  But people, please stop.  Yes, you mega-corporate types hoping beyond hoping that you are going to latch on to the next phenomenon that breaks the rules.  You see, those of us who liked Harry Potter didn't like it because of your marketing.  Sure, some of us may have gotten swept up into it, the same as all the folks who got swept up into The DaVinci Code.  But you just can't make it happen on the first book.   Harry Potter built up its audience one novel at a time.   Yes, really.   Same with Dan Brown.  You're just going to have to take chances on authors and give them more than one, or two books to prove themselves.   Just like you TV networks, you need to give a TV show more than 12 episodes to find its audience.   FOX if you think I'm snarkily referring to you and your dropping of Firefly, I am.

There seems to be this idea that people aren't patient anymore.  That we're all in this give it to me now philosophy.  That we can't take our time and let things grow on us as an audience.  If it doesn't knock us off our feet in the first episode, or first few chapters, or first novel, we'll never like it.  In my opinion that's just plain BS.   I can't count how many books didn't get me hooked from word one.  But many of my favorite authors missed the boat on the first glimpse.   Anne McCaffery didn't impress me in the opening chapters of Dragonflight.  I had to start Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel thrice from the beginning.   But in both cases, I was very pleased that I did.  

I didn't care for the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer I watched.  But it turned out to be an enduring favorite.   Heroes started out rather slow.  It wasn't really all whiz-bang from the get go.   But NBC believed in it, and the audience grew.  Now it's up for an Emmy.  

You see here's the thing: when something is a phenomenon because it defies all normal predictions.  It does so because it breaks the rules.  Things become popular despite marketing.   Word of mouth happens because people are willing to give things more of a chance when their friends recommend it.  Not because of a clever marketing scheme.  I never gave something a second chance because of a billboard, or a commercial, or a banner ad.  Things endure in our hearts and minds because we make the connection with it, not because we're told to by some complete stranger.

So, while the world is engaging in some of the last bits of Pottermania, and there are those out there determined to spoil it as much as possible.  I just might disengage.  I'm going to find something else to do with my time.  I like Harry Potter, and look forward to picking up my reserved copy.  Just possibly I might even venture forth tomorrow at Midnite to pick it up.  But then I'll hand the book over to my Lovely Wife, and let her enjoy.  Then, I'll have a go at some other things that are waiting for me.  A little writing, perhaps finishing up a map I've been working on.   Some reading that needs to be done.   And until I've read the book, I'll be sticking my fingers in my ears going: la-la-la-la-la-la whenever anyone chooses to talk about it until I have.   Then after, whenever some publishing house tries to convince me they have the next Potter series, I will again stop up my ears and ignore them.  There are so many good writers out there with work that deserves to be read, I can't stomach seeing them all dismissed, while a company concentrates on trying to predict, and nudge along, the next great phenomenon.  Yes we do want to belong to the great crowd of people who all are on the in, all loving that great new thing.   But we want to be a part of that on our own terms, not on those of the corporate machine.  

Trust your editors.   Trust your authors.  Give them time and space to work.  That's when the real magic happens.
Tags:
Okay, this is an unasked for rant.  And clearly, it's just my personal opinion on the matter.   But I figure, I should say something, because it's annoying the heck out of me, and well, if I don't say something that just makes me an jerk.   Okay, I'm probably a jerk whether I say something or not, but at least this way, if I say something, then people can ignore it by choice, instead of never having been informed.

What the heck am I babbling about?   Archaic design.

I'm seeing more, and more, and more websites that seem to be designed for ease of use on older screen resolutions.  Now, I don't have a problem with wanting to keep your website accessible to as large an audience possible.  (Though I'll note that few enough people take the time to support Lynx users or make sure their sites work okay for the visually impaired, but that could be a separate rant.)   What I object to is designing it for the older screen resolutions, in such a way that makes the newer screen resolutions practically irrelevant.   I use a wide-screen monitor.   I don't enjoy reading text limited to only one half or less of my screen in a tiny narrow strip, and having to scroll ad infinitum in order to read a page.   I'm scrolling three times as much as I should need to, because people are forcing me to view their page as if I were on a smaller resolution.   Now, I understand, you shouldn't be trying to design your website specifically for my resolution, which is admittedly, very, very large.  (1920x1200)  But the design that supports lower resolution shouldn't limit me to that lower resolution.

Now, I'm not a world class web designer.  I can write html, but you start getting too fancy and you start to lose me fast.  I'm not saying whole design stinks, because that's not the case.   I'll give one specific example, though it is by no means a singular example out there in the field.  (In this case, I'm talking about Author Websites, because it's what I'm thinking about for myself.)   Jeff VanderMeer just came out with a new website Ecstatic Days.  Now, I like the look and feel of the site a lot.*  I think it is generally well done.  Except for the part where on my screen, the blue side bars take up a full 3 1/4 " of space, each side.   That means for me, I have 6 1/2"  of my 13" wide screen has a pretty blue background, but nothing useful.  That's half my screen width.   If I dropped my resolution to 1024x768 it fits perfect.  But I'll never use that resolution, because its designed around a 4:3 aspect ratio, and my monitor uses 16:9.   More, and more we're seeing the 16:9 screens out there, as High-Def starts to take over.  

If you have a site, or are updating a site, or are thinking about creating a site: keep it in mind.  Resolutions are a changing.  Screen formats are a changing.   I'm not saying don't support the older screen sizes or resolutions.   I'm just saying, don't lock yourself into one, because you shouldn't need to.


*I mean it, I like the website a lot, and wish I could do something a quarter as good.  I only used it as an example, because it's one that sticks out as a website that I think is good and yet still exhibits the behavior that's bothering me.  I didn't want to pick a website that was a stinker all around, because that might confuse the issue.
Okay, this is an unasked for rant.  And clearly, it's just my personal opinion on the matter.   But I figure, I should say something, because it's annoying the heck out of me, and well, if I don't say something that just makes me an jerk.   Okay, I'm probably a jerk whether I say something or not, but at least this way, if I say something, then people can ignore it by choice, instead of never having been informed.

What the heck am I babbling about?   Archaic design.

I'm seeing more, and more, and more websites that seem to be designed for ease of use on older screen resolutions.  Now, I don't have a problem with wanting to keep your website accessible to as large an audience possible.  (Though I'll note that few enough people take the time to support Lynx users or make sure their sites work okay for the visually impaired, but that could be a separate rant.)   What I object to is designing it for the older screen resolutions, in such a way that makes the newer screen resolutions practically irrelevant.   I use a wide-screen monitor.   I don't enjoy reading text limited to only one half or less of my screen in a tiny narrow strip, and having to scroll ad infinitum in order to read a page.   I'm scrolling three times as much as I should need to, because people are forcing me to view their page as if I were on a smaller resolution.   Now, I understand, you shouldn't be trying to design your website specifically for my resolution, which is admittedly, very, very large.  (1920x1200)  But the design that supports lower resolution shouldn't limit me to that lower resolution.

Now, I'm not a world class web designer.  I can write html, but you start getting too fancy and you start to lose me fast.  I'm not saying whole design stinks, because that's not the case.   I'll give one specific example, though it is by no means a singular example out there in the field.  (In this case, I'm talking about Author Websites, because it's what I'm thinking about for myself.)   Jeff VanderMeer just came out with a new website Ecstatic Days.  Now, I like the look and feel of the site a lot.*  I think it is generally well done.  Except for the part where on my screen, the blue side bars take up a full 3 1/4 " of space, each side.   That means for me, I have 6 1/2"  of my 13" wide screen has a pretty blue background, but nothing useful.  That's half my screen width.   If I dropped my resolution to 1024x768 it fits perfect.  But I'll never use that resolution, because its designed around a 4:3 aspect ratio, and my monitor uses 16:9.   More, and more we're seeing the 16:9 screens out there, as High-Def starts to take over.  

If you have a site, or are updating a site, or are thinking about creating a site: keep it in mind.  Resolutions are a changing.  Screen formats are a changing.   I'm not saying don't support the older screen sizes or resolutions.   I'm just saying, don't lock yourself into one, because you shouldn't need to.


*I mean it, I like the website a lot, and wish I could do something a quarter as good.  I only used it as an example, because it's one that sticks out as a website that I think is good and yet still exhibits the behavior that's bothering me.  I didn't want to pick a website that was a stinker all around, because that might confuse the issue.
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