Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
I think that's why there's also a lot of push back at HP and TL from the old school fantasy fans; these series brought in a huge influx of newbies to the genre that had never frequented those shelves and did not know the seminal works/ had not paid their dues.
I do think it's interesting the way people form 'in-groups' with the sole purpose of defining other people as 'outsiders'. You'd think people would be happy to have more people reading fantasy - more readers = more books. But no, let's preserve it as a little in-group and sneer at newbies who want to join and don't know all the in-jokes.
Makes me tired. I like to read. I like it when other people like to read. I don't care what they read, even if it's books I think would be suitable for what's been referred to as 'the most menial use to which paper can be put'. If someone is a reader, you can generally find enough in common with them to have a conversation. Why try to be all us-and-them?
Re Harry Potter, I think one reason for its success was what tradpub was publishing in the way of kids' books in the nineties. As I recall, the majority of it was depressing 'realistic' books about teens dealing with drug addiction and parents divorcing, and so on. According to publishers, Kids Today didn't want to read about made-up crap about magic and wizards, and they definitely didn't want to read about posh kids in a boarding school. They wanted to read about Kids Like Them, who were dealing with Important Issues. Lately, there have been a few radio programs talking to the many publishers who rejected HP, and why they bounced it. "We didn't think it would sell," they said.
To me, this says two things:
- Tradpub has no idea what will sell. Until something sells, then they publish another twenty of essentially the same thing. (My personal view, for which I have no evidence whatsoever, is that they select their people from a small pool of Guardian-reading English-lit graduates who all read the same kind of thing, which is not the same kind of thing that everyone else reads.)
- Everybody likes fantasy of some description, whether it's got magic and dragons or whether it's swept-away-by-a-hot-guy romance, or being-an-international-secret-agent spy thrillers, or even celebrity tell-all books. We all like to think that there's something beyond our 'drab, dull, everyday lives', even if we personally don't get to participate. But fantasy is basically fantasy, and it's a bit ridiculous to sneer at other people because you think your fantasy is better than their fantasy. Not that being ridiculous stops people most of the time.