Would you really want to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyers?

My family has asked me this question.

And when I said no, they didn’t believe me.

Yeah, the money would be nice. The validation would be nice. All the fan mail would be nice.

But when you’ve already hit the top what is left? Will your next series be as big? Or do you end up being stuck?

I’d love to be successful with my writing. I’d love to be able to write until I’m 90 years old. But I also want to be able to continue to create and tell different stories and build with each one. To spread my creative wings and fly – sometimes over the desert and sometimes over the mountains.

I’d love for my work to never go out of print and continue to be loved by future generations. I’d love to hit the best seller list.  But I feel like J. K. Rowling and Meyers don’t have many places left to go.

I hesitate to even pick an author whose career I’d like to emulate because everyone’s path is different. I want it to be my path. And we all know that success and publication doesn’t bring happiness and contentment, right?

What do you think? Would you want to be the next J. K. Rowling? Seriously.

19 Responses to Would you really want to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyers?

  1. Jen Bee July 12, 2010 at 8:28 am #


    I don’t think their writing is all that brilliant. Not that I’m saying I could do better (yet?), but there are many who have. Jennifer Donnelly writes absolutely stunning stuff, her words as well as her stories and characters, but relatively few folks have heard of her and her three-soon-to-be-four novels.

    I would rather be her. (Not sure what this says about what most people want…)

    Now I just gotta go write the good stuff.

    Nice post, by the way. =) That’s a good point about getting stuck.

  2. anne gallagher July 12, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    Harper Lee wrote TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. It was the only book she ever wrote. J.D. Salinger wrote CATCHER IN THE RYE. It was the only book he ever published.

    That’s the kind of book I want to write. Something so utterly fantastic you’d never have to write again because you’ve made your statement. And could reasonably live off the income from the royalties.

  3. Laura July 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Thanks for sharing.

    Jen – I def. think there are some brilliant books out there that deserve more buzz!

    Anne – That is truly amazing when one book takes off like that. But I think I’d miss writing. Good example of other authors who would find it hard to match their first.

  4. Nelsa July 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Hey, Laura: Fascinating question. I’m with you – I’d love the success and validation but the kind of life they have to lead now and the expectations that are put on them now for any other writing must be crippling.

    I’ve heard J.K. Rowling is writing an adult book now. If she does publish it it will likely be an immediate best seller but the scrutiny must be horrendous. Then again, she was able to write all the books in her series with tremendous expectations from her fans and, in my opinion, didn’t fall down too badly in her efforts.

    I kind of feel bad about how many people are dumping on Stephanie Meyers writing. She wouldn’t have taken such a hit if her books hadn’t become so successful.

    I guess it’s that old adage: be careful what you wish for – you just might get it.

  5. John Rea-Hedrick July 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Laura – Success is aways a mixed bag.

    The thing I would miss the most with that level of success would be the loss of privacy in day-to-day life. Rowling said she loved writing in cafes but had to give that up because of her popularity.

    One other drawback to that kind of success, aside from the intense pressure to write once the bar has been set so high, is how mercilessly many critics like to skewer the writer if their follow up work doesn’t measure up.


  6. Patty Blount July 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    No, not Stephenie or JK Rowling, but I sure wouldn’t mind being Stephen King or Nora Roberts… I want to be that sort of writer who never, ever runs out of ideas.

  7. Terry Lynn Johnson July 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    well, I tend not to worry myself with these questions, since it’s more likely that I’ll win the lottery.
    However if I had to answer it I’d have to be honest and say of course! I agree with Anne. You wouldn’t even need to write any more – perhaps just for your mom or something.
    Your books get dumped on anyway, whether you’re famous or not. Goodreads has some very vocal readers! Can’t be afraid of that!

  8. Laura July 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    Thanks everyone! I guess every level of success has its pros and cons. It’s best to be happy where you are. 🙂

  9. Laura Marcella July 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    I want to be the first Laura Marcella, whatever that may be!

  10. Kris July 12, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    No. Not really. I guess. But it sure would be fun to walk in their shoes for a day. 🙂

    I also feel badly that so many people trash Stephanie Meyer’s writing. She’s not Shakespeare, but I devoured those books and never thought “wow, this lady can’t write.”

    I continue to love love love JK Rowling. Her characterizations, plot twists, and general awesomeness inspires me. I just started listening to HP 7 in the car in prep for the first movie coming out in December.

  11. Marcia July 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    No. I don’t want to be THAT famous. I also don’t want to feel responsible for what it might do to others around me. Fame within the industry? Sure. Fame where you can’t go to the grocery store? No way. I value privacy and freedom too much.

  12. Susan Kaye Quinn July 12, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    I love this question, because it teases out the real reason why we are in this game. I’d like to be the next Rick Riordan, or Scott Westerfeld – famous, loved, but flexible and able to jump (successfully!) to different genres. Freedom! They can write whatever they want. And that’s plain awesome. 🙂

  13. Susan R. Mills July 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    I totally agree with you here. I want to be Susan R. Mills, not J.K. Rowlings or Stephanie Meyers. There’s no where but up for me right now!

  14. Karen July 13, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    I would love to have the money to have the freedom, but I feel for them with their loss of privacy.

    Back in the day, writers could be *incognito* but now writers are like celebrities and I cringe on the downside of that.

    It would be overwhelming I think. But I’m sure there are some positive sides to it as well!

    But I agree with the other comments, I just want to be myself. 🙂

  15. Andrea Vlahakis July 13, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    Oh, no. Not at all. Plus with all that money and freedom pulling me away from work, I would think it would be hard to write. I mean, if I were that rich, I’d fly to Paris for lunch 😉 hee hee

  16. Creepy Query Girl July 14, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    My goal is to get paid for writing so i can officially be an ‘author’. I want to see my books in print and have somebody ANYBODY look forward to my next projects! lol. If I wanted fame and glory I would have gone for a singing or acting career:)

  17. Robert Guthrie July 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    The next… we should just be the first ourselves.

  18. Jennifer Shirk July 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Yes and no. LOL! Like you said, the money would be nice but I feel those authors are always under such a microscope and are picked on for everything. I don’t think my fragile ego could take it. 🙂

  19. Sherrie Petersen July 16, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    I totally agree with you! I’d like to be an author who builds with each book, and not get pigeonholed into one story that I’m known for.

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