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.Can Cunningham do it again or is he counting too much on his past success and reputation to sell this series? Only time will tell, of course, but I have to doubt that the next Harry Potter can be found so quickly. Success like Rowling's comes along only once every generation or so and the odds are against anyone matching her sales figures anytime soon, if ever again.
With the backing of Cunningham - a man considered something of a magician himself in the publishing world - the book has gone on to sell pre-publication rights in 15 languages around the world, securing advances totaling more than £500,000. Cunningham is currently in Hollywood, in discussions to sell the film rights.
"I knew from page one that Harry Potter was magic," Cunningham said earlier, "Reading Tunnels gave me the same thrill, discovering a world of imagination just beyond our ordinary lives." He confidently predicted that "millions of children" would soon be feeling much the same way.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Next Big Thing
Now that JK Rowling is set to retire, or maybe even kill off, Harry Potter with the release of her final Potter book on July 21, the frantic search for a replacement is on the way in the U.K. And Barry Cunningham, the Bloomsbury editor who likes to take credit for first spotting Harry's sales potential, thinks he's found just the thing. According to Guardian Unlimited, it's time to prepare yourself for a boy archaeologist who digs a big hole and for what he finds in it.