Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Known vs. Unknown, Which is Better?

Posted by katherineschaaf on October 31, 2016

Making brands/titles out of authors can be a very useful thing, but also a very limiting one as well.

On a positive note, it is important to make a name out of an author because that creates a great foundation for promotions of their novels and future work.  Nobody knows the extent of success when it comes to author branding until they have experienced the whole Harry Potter shebang.  From a book collection to a cinema series (where my sister was so obsessed she literally dressed up as Voldemort to the premiere, bald cap and everything) to a world theme park (with butter beer and buyable wands) it’s unending and amazing!  Becoming a famous author like JK Rowling means selling out live interview sessions, holding popular book signings, producing major motion films, and most of all the attached fandoms start over again when her new novels come out.  The audience share a connection with the author through his or her characters and they want to show their support in any way they can.  Once an author has a name for themselves, or a rally of fans, they have more power than ever before.  How do different authors use that power? Could anybody ever surpass JK Rowling’s level?

However, by bringing so much attention to well-known names (like only having best-selling novels on display at book stores) it sort of limits people from searching for new and energizing artists without world-known names.  For me especially, as a person who reads here and there when I have time, I find myself only willing to read a book that is on the bestselling list or from a known author I have read in the past.  Think of all the treasures of books I am missing out on because I dismiss them due to the author not being familiar.  

Therefore, I think we should all try an unknown novel, with an unknown author, with no recognition and see what we get from it.  Who knows, it may become your new favorite! Maybe he or she will become a brand name in the future…


4 Responses to “Known vs. Unknown, Which is Better?”

  1. wilscott1 said

    I think you have made a very good point here, Katherine. I have also noticed the craziness that is J.K. Rowling’s following. I myself am a pretty big Harry Potter fan. I also agree about the whole no-name author thing. If you’re looking for an under the radar book, I recommend Station Eleven by Emily John St. Mandel. Great stuff right there.

    • katherineschaaf said

      Oh interesting…so where do you get recommendations for books? I personally love getting them from friends or librarians because they have so many perspectives. They are like your own little computer, you tell them what books you have read/liked and they will recommend many more and they never seem to fail me. Thanks for the rec, I’ll try it!

  2. jennnymarks said

    I, too, have a hard time exploring out of my comfort zones for new books. I read whats on the best sellers list mainly because i already know its gonna be a good book. But there’s so many authors out there, yet to be discovered that could potentially (but don’t quote me) become more famous than JK Rowling. Hopefully when I’m old and bored ill reach out and find a good book that isn’t popular yet, but until then I’m stuck reading twilight.

    • katherineschaaf said

      See it’s so interesting because I enjoyed reading the Harry Potter novels (although I did not finish, I don’t know whether it was because of the author’s style or the hype built up before reading them, but I stopped mid-way through the 4th, which was my favorite movie, ironic huh). I kind of branched out a little bit by becoming a big fan of the Mortal Instruments series (which was outside the main stream of HP fans). I can also see where it is fun to read popular books because it is so much fun to talk about them to other fans and share the love!!!

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