But what about all of the books that were around a couple of years before, or at the same time? Those were published in the same economic and social climate, so why didn't they ever push any of those other books? The amount of hopeful authors looking for a trad contract is crazy huge. Surely, out of all of those manuscripts, at least one or two should have been good enough to push. Especially when you're arguing that they don't even have to be all that good.Meyers and Rowling were picked by random chance off the slush pile, and pushed to a degree you don't see anymore, and established in a completely different economic and social climate which was far less risk averse. Couple that with the passage of time, and of course they've attained a level of popularity no one else can approach.
I'm not talking about now, I'm talking about then, when the books originally came out. I worked at a big box book store in the early 2000's, in receiving, so I got to handle all those many, many skids of Harry Potter, which I seem to recall started to get big around book 3 or 4. By book 5 it was huge, because the movies had started coming out, and we had a midnight release party at the store. People were lined up out the door, and the release for books 6 and 7 were even bigger. The skids were sent shrink-wrapped in black plastic - we had to receive them sight unseen using a PO number that covered the whole order - and we weren't allowed to even cut the plastic open until midnight. That kind of popularity and devotion to a fandom doesn't come about by throwing money at it. It happens because there was something special about those books. I don't have a lot of time to re-read the books anymore, but I own the whole series of movies, and rewatch them every year. That's something I only do with stories/movies that are special to me. I would imagine a large number of other fans feel the same.
Twilight was published in 2005, and I don't remember any huge push on that first one. I left the store about a year later, and in that time it still hadn't become huge, which leads me to believe it was a slower, more organic growth of fandom for it, too.
Point being, Twilight and Harry Potter and any other bestseller you can name are not bestsellers based on merit, special-ness, or talent from a writing or storytelling perspective.Meyer and Rowling were both pushed to an insane degree.
They really weren't, though. And while they might not be bestsellers based on merit or talent, they are definitely bestsellers based on special-ness.
So you're saying that they just randomly picked these two series to make into bestsellers, which they could do just by throwing money at them, but they've never done it to that scale before, or since? That makes absolutely no sense. If it was so easy to create a bestseller like that, why wouldn't publishers have done it before Harry Potter. And more often, instead of managing it only twice in the last 23 years?It's not like the Twilight and Harry Potter stories themselves are any great shakes. They're serviceable in that they're accessible and easy reads, and vampires and magic have always been popular. But, they're not particularly original from a storytelling standpoint, and nor do they have to be since readers in general have never been that picky. Sure, you could say nothing has come close in popularity, but I would argue nothing has come close in terms of visibility either...