I'm sure this has been answered in many places - it's such an easy hit - but I'll take my own swing at it.
Prince of Thorns was released in the same month as George Martin's very long awaited A Dance With Dragons. At the time ADWD was pretty much all anyone wanted to talk about. I did for a moment feel perhaps the same kind of trepidation expressed in Lynn Shepherd's blog ... but really it made no sense to feel that way.
George Martin wasn't 'stealing my readers' - what he was doing was turning hundreds of thousands of pairs of new eyes towards the Fantasy section of bookshops across the world. Sure for a few days those people were occupied with his latest doorstop - but then they wanted another book to read. They had a taste for fantasy and George wasn't going to give them a new volume for perhaps another five years.
Then along comes A Game of Thrones on TV, constituting one more big step in the recent advances toward making fantasy mainstream, toward making Joe and Josephine Public see it as something interesting and fun rather than the preserve of geeks, to be sneered at by 'normal' people. Fantasy has advanced hugely in the public perception over the past ten years, and its done so in large part due to the influence of the super-stars of the genre. They've called in the tide and I'm just one of many who have been surfing the waves toward minor success, very grateful for the whole thing.
The preserve of the Huffington Post blogger is crime fiction. She sees JK Rowling as an intruder who has crashed in and is using up all the air in that particular niche. This of course is the opposite of what's happening. Vast numbers of Rowling devotees, many of them now adults who read her children's books when they were kids, have followed her into this new adventure and many of them will be discovering to their surprise that they love crime fiction. When they've read her book many will look for another. The tide will rise - Lynn Shepherd's boat will be lifted with it, if she just lets it...
Selling books is a very non-linear business. Some soar, many crash. Many scrape a living whilst a handful make multi-millions. However, it is those chosen few, those authors whose success has made them celebrities, that command column inches in newspapers, mentions on the news, space in websites not dedicated to books. And that publicity constantly turns the public eye towards reading, towards fiction - constantly injects into their brain the idea that buying a book, reading a book, talking about a book are good things they will enjoy...
So I'll lift my coffee cup to the Rowlings, and the George Martins, to the Twilight and the Hunger Games, without sour grapes and with thanks.
[Contest now closed! Very many thanks for all the entries, many of which were superb efforts of imagination - my expectations were exceeded repeatedly! It physically pained me to see some entries not win - but I played it fair. The choosing was done using random.org. The entries with more points had more chances to win, but inevitably many of the best will not have been selected. The lucky winners are: Scott #29 (signed edition Ryan #41 Scott #46 (whole other Scott) Hilary #61
I have some Advanced Reviewer Copies of Prince of Fools and four of them are up for grabs in this competition wot I am about to describe for you!
The winner will get a signed ARC from my stash here, three runners up will get copies sent from Voyager.
Entry is simple - just send a photo of you (or some sucker) holding up (or otherwise displaying) the words "Prince of Fools" in some visible fashion.
You can write it on a piece of paper, wear it on a T-shirt, write it in the dirt on your truck, make a banner, have 12 friends help you spell it out with their bodies, strategically cut down trees so the message is revealed in satellite images ... every entry has a chance to win but I'll award up to 8 points for the more elaborate/fun and each point is a chance to win. So hold it on a bit of paper - 1 point, 1 chance to win, sky write it in a light aircraft, 8 points, 8 chances. Perhaps a foolish face might attract points, or some Thorns books in the background, or a pint of beer with my name on it ...
One entry per human.
Send your photos to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Competition ends March 3rd. May the best man, woman, or other win.
The Entries! Remember - you don't need the best entry to win - some get more chances than others but everyone gets a chance.
#1 James (2 points)
#2 Mathew (titled: Beauty of the Lightly Fingered) (1 point)
#3 Benjamin "not the car!" (3 points)
#4 Logan - the foolish cat's reading the wrong book... (2 points)
#5 Loki - Prints of Fools ... and there's footprints and hand prints in the dirt ... ah! Wordplay! (3 points)
#6 Alicia, boxing clever! (4 points)
#7 T.O. (7 points)
Cutting wet grass in 2400 point Times New Roman font - easy.
Getting daughter 4 and 3 out of bed to pose and take pictures respectively - difficult.
Explaining to wife why the lawn is only half cut - impossible.
#8 Santiago - extra point for getting a fool-face on! (2 points)
#9 Christy (who owns a print center that does car vinyl) (3 points)
#10 Ryan - saying it with books! (2 points)
#12 Tara, horsing around... (6 points)
#13 David - Print-Out of Fools! (2 points)
#14 Gillian - Trying to get ahead of the competition! (2 points)
#15 Paul - writing in the snow the nice way (1 point)
#16 Femke - a work of art with a message! (3 points)
#17 Kareem, needed to get something off his chest! (6 points)
#18 Moochy Mooch - being lazy and at work ... but still in with a chance! (1 point)
#19 Sean (baby Rhia was supposed to hold the kindle but wouldn't play ball - hence the stunt double) (2 points) (I can't give someone's baby 1 point!!)
#20 John, with Jacks ... Jacks being the Prince card ... also the Knave ... which can be taken for 'fool' ... though generally if you have to take this long explaining it... :) (2 points)
#21 Nadine, Queen of Photoshop, taunting us with her Caribbean winter adventure (3 points)
#22 Shane - going hard core, hoping to pip the opposition at the post with general appeal ... OK, OK, stopping now. (4 points)
#23 Neil, says it with soup! (1 point) cool but I know you just type it into a website :)
#24 Derek has Buckyballs! (1 point) - love Buckies, but show us the reader too! :)
#25 Michael facing down a humongous crocodile to bring you the news! (4 points) reader, check, exotic location check.
#26 Glen, Scrabbling for success (3 points) just scraped the 3 by dint of all the fine books. Do like to see the reader too though.
#27 Konrad, getting his art on! (5 points)
#28 Malin (she's the one holding up the L) (3 points)
#29 Scott, saying it with 75 books! (3 points)
#30 Dusty. (3 points)
#31 David, with a rather fine tattoo! (3 points) gotta give a bonus for the ink!
#32 Donna, Painted on the side of her house! (5 points) That's going to take a few coats ... so just leave it :)
#33 Tracey, Prince of Pies! +1 cute 2 year old ready to eat said pie! (4 points)
#34 Gottardo, Boldly Going! (1 point)
#35 Karla. (A rebus is an allusional device that uses pictures to represent words or parts of words.) I learn something every day! (2 points)
#36 Anel. The Prince of Fools map as a playable RPG! (4 points)
#37 Stuart. Prince of Fools on the TV! Maybe one day :) (2 points)
#38 Brandon - because Jorg would enjoy the Mardi Gras! (2 points)
#39 Crystal, hopping for success with this entry. (2 points)
#40 Alice, with Prince of Fools in crochet ... which is apparently a real chore to do! (5 points)
#41 Ryan, a stellar effort (including 'in progress shots') apparently the beer and the key have my name on them (that's a bonus point right there). Sword? Check. And the artist in the mix too! (8 points)
#42 Jesper (his day job is standing there holding the top of the runestone on). The bottom part, beneath the fool's cap, translates to Prince of Fools if you use the key. Quite what is going on here on this Swedish Viking-runed stone I'm not sure, but it's cool, especially given that such a stone features in the book. (3 points)
#43 Joe, gives us the how to guide (2 points)
#44 Stephen, in his cups (all cleaned up and recycled after) (7 points)
#45 Vivianne, takes the cake! (5 points)
#46 Scott, as he was last Halloween! (3 points)
#47 Mike, apparently this little girl wants daddy to read her Prince of Fools at bedtime (3 points)
#48 Kathryn "Selfies; not as easy as half the Facebook population makes them look" - it does say 'Prince of Fools on the hat! (3 points)
#49 Doug & the artist formerly known as Prince of Fools (3 points)
#50 Wafer - titled "ok, my mom is going to kill me" (3 points)