“Other people write books too, you know.” That’s the message James Bow, a Canadian who writes fantasy novels for young people, hopes to get across with his one-man picket beside the midnight line-up of fans waiting to get their hands on the last book in the Harry Potter series.
Bow, wearing a wizarding hat and a “will write for food” placard, will be stationed outside the Toronto independent bookstore Another Story, as it opens at midnight to accommodate eager Muggles. He will return the next day at noon to read from other novels and sign his own.
In Vancouver, authors James McCann and kc dyer will launch their latest novels at the Summer Dream Literary Arts Festival in Stanley Park “in defiance of the Potter juggernaut”.
The tongue-in-cheek protests, which have the support of their venues, are designed to bring attention to other books children and young adults could read once the final page turns on Rowling’s Harry Potter epic.
Who: James Bow, author of "Fathom Five" (the Dundurn Group) kc dyer, author of "Ms. Zephyr's Notebook (the Dundurn Group) James McCann, author of "Pyre" (Simply Read Books) When: Friday, July 20, 2007 - 11:59 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. EDT (James Bow) Saturday, July 21, 2007 - noon - 1:00 p.m. EDT (James Bow) Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 1:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. PDT (kc dyer, James McCann) Where: Another Story Bookshop, 315 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto (James Bow) Summer Dream Festival, Lumberman's Arch, Stanley Park, Vancouver (kc dyer, James McCann)
For further information: James Bow (519) 590-9640, firstname.lastname@example.org; kc dyer (604) 921-9562 email@example.com; James McCann (604) 876-0033 firstname.lastname@example.org
This idea came about while I was promoting Fathom Five. I was well aware that a promotional wall was heading in my direction in the form of the latest Potter juggernaut. At BookExpo, I joked that the only way an author other than J.K. Rowling could get attention that week would be to appeal to sympathy. Noelle Allen of Wolsak and Wynn thought that this would be a good idea. Some protest or other form of guerrilla marketing would attract the attention of a media saturated with Potter coverage and eager for a different hook. She encouraged me to try this out and, as other authors and booksellers thought this was a good idea, I decided to pursue this.
We didn’t have much lead time. I had hoped that more authors would join us, but on such short notice, many had already made plans to avoid the bookstore crowds that weekend or, in some cases, had already arranged to attend a Harry Potter event with their children. However, I managed to find a venue and two partners. KC Dyer, author of the Eagle Glen trilogy and Ms. Zephyr’s Notebook and her friend James McCann were both launching their latest novels that weekend, and happily signed on. This gave us a national campaign.
I’ve never done anything like this before — I haven’t even attended any of these late-night release events — so I’m nervous and excited. But this is the sort of thing one has to do to get noticed in the publishing world, and I’m looking forward to making my mark. It should be a fun event, and perhaps I’ll see you there? If nothing else, I’ll be able to lay my hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the moment it’s released, which is a definite perk.
The news release has already generated interest, which is a good sign. I’ll have more details as they materialize.
And this seems to be a very newsworthy week for me. Yesterday, I was quoted twice by Murray Whyte of the Toronto Star on this article debating the merits and drawbacks of streetcar operation in Toronto. You can guess which side I was on, and I think on balance the debate came out in favour of Toronto’s streetcars.