Saying “It’s like Harry Potter” is a useful way to describe a book, but He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named should absolutely not be named in children’s publishing. Like Facebook or Instagram, it’s the unicorn that warps the industry, and “sets impossible expectations,” according to editor Connie Hsu.
Most middle-grade fantasy series are duds, so not only might Arlo Finch not become Harry Potter, it might not become anything at all.
Arlo Finch sprang from a phone call in an Austin hotel room in October 2015 during an epic thunderstorm. Screenwriter John August spent the next month tracing Arlo's journey over seven chapters and realized he had a book series on his hands. After talking to other screenwriters-turned-novelists, August decided it was time to find a publishing house for Arlo. There’s a preemptive offer, with only hours to decide.
Three out of five people say they dream of writing a book. Chances are you’re one of them.
But what does it take to actually go from dream to launch?
Screenwriter John August wants to find out. After writing hit films like Big Fish, Go, and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, he did something that he knew nothing about: he wrote a middle-grade novel and started recording his conversations with everyone he talked to about it.