Just Stick With Me, Ms. Rowling. I’ll Make You A Big Success.

April 13, 2012


So, JK Rowling, I see you announced the title, release date, and synopsis of your new novel, The Casual Vacancy.  Your first foray in to the world of adult fiction, yeah?  Big step, Ms. Rowling.  Big step.

Don't worry, JK. I'll have you out of that hovel in no time.

Now, JK – can I call you Janet?  No?  The “J” isn’t for Janet?  Oh.  You sure?  Consider it.  Anyways, Ms. Rowling, I know you had a smattering of success with that charming kids’ book of yours, Harry Potter And The Case of the Stony Philosopher, or whatever it was, but this is the big leagues.  And I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but I have over 800 subscribers.  That’s right, 800.  So, I think I know a little something about how to touch hearts and to appeal to the general public.  Therefore, as long as you’re not one of those writers who’s afraid of success, I’d like to offer some constructive criticism.  Let’s first take a look at the synopsis, as released by your publisher, Little, Brown:

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?


Not bad, Ms. Rowling.  Not bad.  A little dry, a little predictable, a little vanilla, a little light on lightning-bolt scars.

No, no.  Don’t worry – I think you’ve got real potential, but, if you don’t mind?  Let me sizzle up this steak for you; see if we can’t make this book successful.

"Well, I may just be a dog, but I do know that you can't make sarsparilla without a little sweetener."

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in [a tornado of fire], the [mystical, floating] town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and [dogs who can talk, dispensing home-spun wisdom; also they wear hats], but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, [gremlins] at war with [aliens], [sister] wives at war with their husbands, teachers [literally] at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems [to the curmudgeonly detective and his sassy, sexy assistant who arrive there to investigate an anonymous tip that Fairweather was murdered by the tornado].

And the empty seat left by Barry on the [Interdimensional Assassins Supreme] council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the [galaxy] has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and [lightning-breathing monsters]?


Nothing says "Literature" like 3-headed monsters breathing lightning in order to throw an election.

See?  Who wouldn’t want to read that?  That’s grown-up literature.  That’s a best-seller.  You’re welcome.  Also? A cameo by Harry Potter.  But I suppose that’s just obvious.

And, really, think about the “Janet” thing.  Naming yourself after a text-message abbreviation may cut it with the tweener set, but “Janet K. Rowling”?  That says ‘big sales.’

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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44 Comments on “Just Stick With Me, Ms. Rowling. I’ll Make You A Big Success.”

  1. joehoover Says:

    I read her synopsis this morning and sighed at the banality of it and that she’ll still make millions. She can afford to throw a few curveballs in there


  2. Hamza Says:

    JK writing adult novels? That’s just wrong.


  3. Soma Mukherjee Says:

    The stony professor 😯
    You are giving me ideas for my next post 😆
    That woof is one clever one .. and the Book by Miss ‘Janet’ is also being labeled as “blackly comic”
    I loved the idea of Interdimensional Assassins Supreme council..you have given some cool suggestions I hope She reads this 🙂


  4. Life With The Top Down Says:

    I don’t know about the book, but the synopsis is boring. The name Barry Fairweather is odd. Personally, I am a talking dog in a hat sort of person and I would be very interested to hear what a dog (holder of all secrets) had to say.


  5. Elyse Says:

    JK has SO much to learn from you Bryonic!


  6. 1pointperspective Says:

    As long as you’re tossing her free ideas, here’s a few more to consider: Don’t have any characters named “Bumbleworthy” or “The ‘Widow Hobbs”. Also, consider dumping small town England and set the story in 1940’s L.A. or Miami, add a hard boiled detective and a stripper with a heart of gold. Don’t worry, you can still have aliens and tornadoes of fire in that era, they just need to dress better and smoke Lucky’s.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’d make a terrible publisher because as soon as someone said, “It’s set in LA in the 1940’s–” I’d yell, “Sold!”


      • 1pointperspective Says:

        You’ll notice I left out any reference to Dickens characters in that comment, for fear of embarrassing myself again. Also, wanted to let you know I put a link to you in my latest post. Don’t know who follows me and who doesn’t, so I’m not sure WP will notify you if someone puts your link their blog. I apologize in advance.


  7. becomingcliche Says:

    I am going to have to unplug all media until September. I don’t read blurbs on books. I will buy the thing blindly and hope for the best!


  8. She's a Maineiac Says:

    So when’s your book coming out? Seriously. I’d buy it.


  9. gojulesgo Says:

    Oh noooo. This book sounds so boring! (Unless Janet listens to you. I don’t think I’ll even touch it unless there’s a sarsparilla-making dog in the mix.)


  10. Michelle Gillies Says:

    Your version obviously would lead her to the road of fame and fortune. I’m afraid her version will fizzle out quickly and she will just be another flash in the pan.


  11. BrainRants Says:

    Think you could do that for “War and Peace,” while at the same time making it shorter?


  12. sj Says:

    Ohhh, I’m stuck on this floating town idea. I do admit, your version sounds like something I’d rather read, but I know I’ll still be reading as soon as I can get my mitts on it.


  13. susielindau Says:

    Those are great suggestions Byronic Man. I am sure she will be getting back to you!
    You are at 800 now? Wow you are cruising you Recommended Blogger you! Congrats!


  14. Francesca Zelnick Says:

    This is pure genius from start to finish. Thanks for the Friday morning smile!


  15. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    Wait, Harry Potter was meant for children ? Uh, yeah, I knew that…

    Brainrant has a brilliant idea, you could be the one responsilbe for perking up many classics! Several could use your help…The Yearling (snore), Sherlock Holmes (could use some CSI action), The Grapes of Wrath (migrant workers – hot topic agian!), and anything russian……


  16. Life in the Boomer Lane Says:

    Oh my, something else to get agitated about.


  17. tomwisk Says:

    She’ll have a best seller. She is a great storyteller. She kept an audience for yo, many years. Give her a chance, she needs the money.


  18. thesinglecell Says:

    You have 10 times more followers than me, but I think what I have in common with you (other than clearly underestimated literary brilliance) is a bit of cynicism about Ms. Rowling’s foray into adult novels. Using her own name might give her sales for the first go-round, but maybe it would have been wise to use a pseudonym to see if the damn thing makes any money. That’s what I’m doing. You know. With my blog.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      That’s a good point. About our shared brilliance, but also the pseudonym thing.

      I can see the desire to establish “I’m more than just Harry Potter,” but it would also make sense to do a Stephen King/Richard Bachman thing.


  19. Deborah the Closet Monster Says:

    I would a million times over rather read your story. Then again, my preferences do lean that way, as evidenced by a recent conversation with Ba.D.

    Ba.D.: [talking at length about a screenplay he’s about to write]
    Me: You know what’s missing from all of this?
    Ba.D.: No?
    Me: A supernatural element. That’d definitely spice things up.
    Ba.D.: I am not adding a supernatural element to this, Deb!

    I understand on some level that it becomes a different story with the supernatural element, but . . . sometimes different really is “better.”


  20. mistyslaws Says:

    Good thing sweet little Janet has you to help her with editing her new novel. With your help, she just might sell a few copies of that book of hers. Those are stellar additions to that otherwise yawn inducing synopsis. Hope she gets back to you soon. It sounds like she needs as much help as she can get.


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