[Correction 6/24]: Updated to note that the writer of Transmythology blog is Simon Pulman, not Henry Jenkins, an expert in participatory culture, Harry Potter’s fan fictions sites, and their role in fostering learning and social justice.
Within days of announcing the new Harry Potter website, Pottermore, the “official counterpart” to the wildly popular book series’ fan fiction sites has more than 125,000 followers on Twitter and more than 3,700 likes on Facebook.
Why the frenzy when so many other fan fiction sites — more than 1 million — are already devoted to the wizard fantasy? Some ideas:
- Pottermore will be the first place where readers can buy digital versions of the book.
- New, unpublished material by J.K. Rowling herself will be on the site.
- Savvy marketers are building up anticipation by announcing the site’s existence three months before its launch.
With all this, who wouldn’t be excited?
But I suspect that behind all the marketing wizardry, one of the main reasons for the excitement stems from the fact that fans will get to interact with Rowling, the original creator of the series.
“Without her presence, the whole endeavor would be instantly dismissed by fans as unofficial, inauthentic and perhaps even a little cynical,” writes Simon Pulman, an entertainment brand developer on his blog Transmythology.
But in order to breathe genuine life into Pottermore, it will have to mirror the fervor of unofficial fan sites — without the slick marketing ploys of the big moneymakers, Pulman writes. Continue reading