The Next J.K. Rowling?

Before you get excited by the Wall Street Journal headline, “From Australia, the Next J.K. Rowling?,” do what the Christian Science Monitor suggests, Google “the next J.K. Rowling.” Time gave Stephenie Meyer that title last year, long after she was already a phenomenon. Philip Pullman was also a candidate, but the other names that surface have so far not panned out.

So, here’s the story. Struggling married mother of four, Australian Rebecca James, decides to bet all she has on her ability to write a book. The resulting  Beautiful Malice, “a gritty psychological thriller for teenagers and upward,” suffered many rejections before suddenly being picked up by an agent who took it to the Frankfurt Book Fair last week, where it engendered an international bidding war.

Bantam was the high bidder for U.S. rights, spending “up to $600.000,”  for Beautiful Malice and a second thriller, Cooper Bartholomew is Dead, says the WSJ.

One of the American underbidders says the book offers young adults something totally different, “a smart and literary psychological thriller.”

By the way,  Scholastic paid $105,000 for the rights to publish Harry Potter back in 1997, which amounts to $140,306 in 2009 currency. At the time, it was the largest amount ever paid for a debut childrens book

Of course, that was before Harry Potter proved what profits were lurking in the childrens book market.

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