Today marks JK Rowling’s 55th birthday and Harry Potter’s 40th. While it was almost 25 years ago in August 1996 when the author finally managed to get the first book about her boy wizard published. The impoverished single mother had been rejected 12 times before Bloomsbury’s Barry Cunningham gave her a chance. Although the publisher admits that at the time he didn’t think she should quit her day job over Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Speaking with The Scotsman, Cunningham said: “I did say to her that she would never make any money from her book.
“But I said it out of the sheer goodness of my heart, honestly!
“The truth is I was worried about her.”
After all, the publisher felt the £1,500 advance he gave her wasn’t going to pay her bills for very long.
And yet today the Harry Potter book series is one of the best-selling of all time, with over 500 million copies sold worldwide.
While the previously broke Rowling is now believed to be worth as much as $1 billion.
A couple of years ago the Harry Potter author tweeted out the advice she wishes she’d been given when writing her first book in the series.
Rowling posted the quote: “HEY! YOU! You’re working on something and you’re thinking ‘Nobody’s gonna watch, read, listen.’ Finish it anyway.”
The Harry Potter author commented: “There were so many times in the early 90s when I needed somebody to say this to me.
“It’s great advice for many reasons.
“Even if it isn’t the piece of work that finds an audience, it will teach you things you could have learned no other way.
“And by the way, just because it didn’t find an audience, that doesn’t mean it’s bad work.”
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Rowling continued: “The discipline involved in finishing a piece of creative work is something on which you can truly pride yourself.
“You’ll have turned yourself from somebody who’s ‘thinking of’, who ‘might’, who’s ‘trying’, to someone who DID.
“And once you’ve done it you’ll know you can do it again.
“That is an extraordinarily empowering piece of knowledge.”
The Harry Potter author added: “So do not ever quit out of fear of rejection.
“Maybe your third, fourth, fiftieth song/novel/painting will be the one that ‘makes it’’, that wins the plaudits…
“But you’d never have got there without finishing the others.
“All of which will now be of more interest to your audience.”
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