The author of the Harry Potter series is channeling Charles Dickens, by creating a book in installments. Her new children’s book – The Ickabog – to be published in November, 2020, is available now free and online, chapter by chapter, day by day, until its publication in print,
Dickens popularized serializing books in the nineteenth century, forcing readers to wait to read the next chapter in the newspaper or magazine publishing it the following week. Mark Twain followed the style in America, as did other popular authors of the time, including Harriet Beecher Stowe. Serialization has been spotty in modern times since the popularity of short stories, but Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities was serialized in Rolling Stone magazine before it became a book, and then a movie. Stephen King first published The Green Mile in six low-priced paperback volumes in 1996; Alexander McCall Smith published 44 Scotland Street, in 2004, every weekday, for six months in The Scotsman; Margaret Atwood wrote the Positron series in installments in 2012; and now, J. K. Rowling has serialized The Ickabog – for free.
Cliffhangers are an important characteristic of serialized stories; Jeffrey Archer did it so well with his novel series, The Clifton Chronicles, and J.K. Rowling uses the same incentive to keep the reader wanting more. Rowling, however, keeps the story rolling faster with a free online chapter every day, over the next seven weeks.
According to Rowling, The Ickabog is a story about truth and the abuse of power.” Sounds familiar and timely but Rowling insists “the idea came to me well over a decade ago, so it isn’t intended to be read as a response to anything that’s happening in the world right now. The themes are timeless and could apply to any era or any country.” But King Fred the Fearless has yellow hair and two companions who influence his every move; they are “expert at flattery, pretending to be astonished by how good King Fred was at everything…”
The online site The Ickabog already has eight chapters, and the myth of the Ickabog has yet to be more than a mention, but the anticipation is real – something is going to happen. The book has 34 chapters and will be published as a print and ebook in November, but the delicious chapter by chapter telling now is as tempting as the famous cakes from Fred’s kingdom.
A great bedtime story for children and a wonderful adventure for adults
🐳🍫 𝕥ⓗ𝐄 𝐢ⓒ𝐤ค𝕓Ｏⓖ 💥ඏ What does The Ickabog look like? Rowling has a contest for 7-12 year olds to decide. We’ll find out the winner in November.