Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Rise of the Lightning Thief

by Stacey

Rick Riordan is likely a household name to anyone with young readers at home. His Percy Jackson series of middle grade fantasy novels have sold millions of copies around the world. This article goes into some detail about his publishing history. What's interesting to me about this piece is that they talk about how just a few years ago he was clearly a mid-list author, with a series of adult detective novels that had sales that were modest at best. He moved into children's publishing after some inventive storytelling shared with his son, who recommended Riordan turn the tale into a book. Then The Lightning Thief hit in 2005 and became an incredibly successful franchise. It's a wonderfully inspiring and uplifting story to me because not only is this guy super talented, but he had a sales track to overcome before taking his career to this next level. Granted, it's easier to move from adult to children's to make this happen, but it's still an incredibly positive success story (you know how much I love to share those). I think this article is stretching the boundaries of comparison by suggesting that the books are a publishing phenomenon, but not a cultural one. By any measure, these books are a whopping success, and even though the movie didn't do as well as one might hope, there are more books to come and many more opportunities for new fans to come to the table. Speaking as a publishing professional, that seems like a pretty good place to be for the author, his publisher, and his agent too.


  1. I think Rick Riordan's story illustrates the power in knowing your audience. One of the reasons the Percy Jackson series is so popular is because the hero is someone kids with ADHD and Dyslexia can identify with. And Rick created that hero because of his familiarity with his sons own discouragement and struggle.
    If you can narrow your aim, you'll hit your goal, and you'll have the most impact. To rip a quote from The Patriot, "Aim small, miss small."

  2. I took a class Rick was giving when he talked about reading the galley for this book. Previously, I'd attended one of his workshops on writing detective fiction. It couldn't have happened to a nicer person. Thanks for sharing his story, and the possibilities that emerge from making these kinds of shifts.

  3. The book is great but the movie did not seem to live up to it that's why it did not do well. However, I will always be a fan of the Percy Jackson series. Rick Riordan is just great.


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