J K Rowling: From Failure To Success, Author of “Harry Potter Series”

  • Success Story
  • Sunday, 24 Apr, 2022
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J K Rowling: From Failure To Success

J.K Rowling is a British author, philanthropist, film producer, and screenwriter. She is popular for the Harry Potter series. With selling more than 500 million copies, Harry Potter became the bestselling book series in history. Everything about J.K Rowling is extraordinary and inspirational. A lot of people don’t know the hurdles she faced before she reached stardom. From almost facing poverty to being named the world’s first billionaire author.

Birth and Childhood of Joanne Rowling

Joanne Rowling was born on 31st July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, to Peter James Rowling and Anne Rowling. Her father was a Rolls- Royce aircraft engineer, and her mother was a science technician. She had one little sister, Dianne; Rowling loves to write fantasy stories and read them to her younger sister. When she was a teenager, she got a chance to read Jessica Mitford’s autobiography; from then on, Mitford became her heroine, and after that, she read all her books.

“I was the biggest failure I knew.” – J.K. Rowling

Her father, Peter James Rowling, was an engineer at a legendary British company Rolls-Royce and her mother, Anne Rowling, was a half-French and half-Scottish science technician. Joanne’s parents were both Londoners. They met each other on a train while travelling from King’s Cross station to Arbroath in Scotland, both of them were eighteen years old. Her father was about to join the Royal Navy; her mother was off to join the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Anne was cold, and Peter offered her a half share in his coat. A year later, they got married. Soon, they left the Navy service and relocated to the suburb of Bristol, in the West of England.

Beginning of the ‘Harry Potter’ History

In the summer of 1990, Rowling’s boyfriend relocated to Manchester. She spent a flat-hunting weekend with him. When returning to London by train an idea of Harry Potter suddenly came into her mind during that trip. Joanne could not tell why or what triggered it. However, she saw the whole story of the book and the wizard school apparently. The idea is about a boy who did not know he was a wizard until he was invited to the wizard school.

On returning home, Joanne immediately sat down at her desk and began to write. One day, the apartment, where she had been living, was robbed. The thieves took away many memorable things left from her mother, but, fortunately, they did not steal the shoebox full of the outline of “Harry Potter.” Joanne knew that these sketches were her main jewel.

“You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.” These are the words of J K Rowling, who understands adversity in its many forms.

It all started with a delayed train journey from Manchester to London, where the characters Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermoine Granger began to grow up in the mind of Rowling. Rowling imagined the world of witches and wizards of Hogwarts, Azkaban. It is in this world that the full cast of characters started to take shape in Rowling’s mind.

The struggle of Joanne Rowling with deep depression

We have all read or seen the fantasizing world of Harry Potter, even wished to study at Hogwarts but little did we know that the author or creator went through really tough times to stand where she is today. Let’s find out how she raised herself up after hitting the rock bottom and facing deep depression.

1. Mother’s Demise

Even though she was born in a comfortable family environment, her teenage years were caught up in difficulties when her mother was identified with a terminal disease. When her mother died in 1990, she took it hard on herself. She left her city and moved to Portugal to find new opportunities. 

2. Separation from husband

After getting married to a TV journalist, she gave birth to her daughter, Jessica. J.K. Rowling was happy but this happiness was again short-lived. She got divorced right after 13 months of marriage. This separation was a shock to her and now she was the only parent to grow a newborn. However, she started with her book then but her divorce forced her to move to a new city with a mere three chapters of Harry Potter in the bag.

3. Poor Financial Condition

The pain of separation was piled up when she came to Edinburg but was survived by the state benefits only. Having no money in their pocket and a daughter to raise, she started writing her book in different cafes with Jessica sleeping in the pram nearby. Joblessness, the responsibility of a single parent, and poverty are some of the reasons why she went into depression and even considered suicide as an option.

4. Rejection Of Harry Potter By Most Publishers

Even though she did not have money for photocopying the 90,000 words books and had no money to afford a computer, she typed the novel for each publisher differently. Alas, all of them had rejected the book and she completely lost her own and the book’s confidence.

Finally moving toward Succes

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the magical story of Harry Potter and his cohorts came to Rowling’s mind while on a delayed train journey from Manchester to King’s Cross station in London.  

 “Coincidentally, I didn’t have a pen and was too shy to ask anyone for one on the train, which frustrated me at the time, but when I look back it was the best thing for me.  It gave me the full four hours on the train to think up all the ideas for the book.”

As the narrative unfolded, Rowling had a dream. The dream was to share this story with readers, both young and old. With steely determination, Rowling spent hours in nearby cafés enthusiastically plotting her story – her daughter in her pram nearby. Writing became a diversion. A creative detour from her misfortunes. And it worked!

The manuscript was rejected almost dozens of times until she was finally given a chance with a £1,500 advance by a small London publisher, Bloomsbury, after its CEO’s little 8-year-old daughter fell in love with it after reading the first chapter of the book. In June 1997, Bloomsbury published the first 1000 copies of the Harry Potter series, out of which 500 copies were distributed to libraries. 

The book won Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, its first award, just five months later. In early 1998 an auction was held in America for the printing rights to publish the novel. Scholastic Inc won the auction for USD 105,000 later; Rowling said in an interview that she nearly died when she heard the news of this amount for printing her novel. Today Harry Potter is a global brand worth an estimated 43 billion dollars.

I really don't believe in magic. – Tweeted J.K. Rowling

The last four Harry Potter books have set the records for the fastest-selling books in history. The Harry Potter series totalling 4,195 pages have been translated either in whole or in part into 65 languages. The Harry Potter books series had also gained recognition for creating an interest in reading among the children at a time when they were more inclined toward the internet, computers, and television.

Other Works of Joanne Rowling

J.k Rowling published her first book for adults titled “The Casual Vacancy” in 2012. Besides, she is also the author of the ongoing crime fiction series, Cormoran Strike. The series is published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Five novels in the series have now been published. The sixth novel is titled ‘The Ink Black Heart‘.


Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve. – J.K. Rowling

The biggest lesson that comes from J.K Rowling’s life is to keep believing, trying, and working on your dreams. And one day you will get it no matter, whether it’s to become publish a book or a successful entrepreneur. You just need to keep believing in your dreams and work hard every day. There is no shortcut to success. Hard work is the only key to achieving it. It teaches us discipline, dedication and determination.

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