By Published on .

Most Popular
Once upon a time, a magical children's novel landed in the lap of Jennifer Pasanen. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," an enchanting tale of a boy's journey from a neglected childhood to witchcraft school, needed to be cast upon American readers.

For the VP-marketing of Scholastic's Trade unit, the marketing web was woven far beyond the pages. The book's story was written by J.K. Rowling, a down-and-out single mother who penned the manuscript in a cafe in Edinburgh, Scotland. The book found best-selling success in the U.K., where it was released more than a year ago. Its tale proved alluring to adults as well as children.

"It was all there," says Ms. Pasanen, 34. "The author's story that came with the book-her personally-it really resonated. We just had to get the word out."

Ms. Pasanen's marketing group created and placed consumer and trade ads, and worked closely with Scholastic's Book Fairs unit on cross-promotions that used the author's story to help build the brand.

The efforts kept the book on The New York Times bestseller list for more than six months. Through May, 605,000 copies have been sold.

Integral to the success, though, has been Ms. Pasanen's retelling of Ms. Rowling's rise to a storyteller, as well as Harry Potter's tales, incorporating new ingredients like a Time-Warner movie deal.

"We had hoped it would achieve a similar cult status [in the U.S. as in the U.K.]," Ms. Pasanen says. "It achieved that beyond our wildest expectations."

In fact, the second book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," recently debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.

For Ms. Pasanen, "Harry Potter" already has become what she believes will be an enchanting tale in her own unfolding career.

"This will be one of the handful of books that I touched in my career that my grandchildren will read," she says.

"I will be really happy to tell my grandchildren that this is a book that I

In this article: