Off-Brand, On the Page

October 16 2012

Last week, JK Rowling announced that she would be returning to writing children’s book, after the publication of her first adult novel The Casual Vacancy,’ whose reviews were less than stellar.

Rowling’s venture into adult fiction was watched closely as it came on the heels the final installment in her iconic Harry Potter series a few years ago.  With the phenomenal success of her children’s/young adult series behind her, to say The Casual Vacancy was a risk is an understatement.  With the Potter series, Rowling established herself as an extremely imaginative and transcendent author, whose brand came through consistently in the story of her hero, Harry.  Her brand is inspiring, advantageous, and magical.   

Critics are saying The Casual Vacancy is rather dull, and lacks the imaginative qualities she achieved in the Potter series.  It's possible that Rowling has lost sight of her core brand attributes on the most basic level as she was unable to bring the magic of the Potter series into her new work.  While returning to children’s literature may bea wise move for her, her success will depend not only on the quality of herwork, but on whether she’s still expresses the magical, adventurous, and inspiring qualities that are essential to her brand and identify her so strongly to her devoted audiences.

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