See This Lady: J.K. Rowling

JK

 Rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Picture this:

You end an abusive marriage and leave the country with your infant daughter in tow.

You’re unemployed with no immediate means to support her or yourself.

Depression and even suicidal thoughts fill your head.

You feel ashamed that you need to accept welfare.

And your only escape from feeling despondent is bringing a single idea to life.

Joanne Rowling spent five years writing a novel about a magical world centered around a young wizard. That was only part of her battle. To fully bring her idea to fruition, she would need to have it published.

She sent her manuscript to several literary agents, none of whom cared for it. And just at another point of crushing failure, her sister Dianne said four words that kept her going:

Rowlings never give up!

She eventually found an agent who sent the story to a dozen publishers. Each one rejected the book. Once again, despair set in.

However, lightning was about to strike – thanks to an eight-year-old girl named Alice Newton.

Alice’s father --the chairman of London-based publisher Bloomsbury -- gave her the first chapter of Joanne’s book. The young girl immediately demanded the next one. That’s when the book finally got a green light. 

Joanne –- soon to be known as J.K. -- received a $2,300 advance and a piece of advice from her editor:  find a job, since there is little chance of making money as a children’s author.  So she found one, as a French teacher.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in mid-1997 in the U.K. The following year, U.S- based publisher Scholastic won the rights to publish the novel (changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). And the floodgates of success opened in such a magical way, you’d think Harry potter himself cast a spell.

Today, Harry Potter is a global brand is worth over $15 billion. The book series is the best-selling in history. And its author is a legend.

There were many so points when this lady could have given up and accepted the harsh realities of her circumstances. But in the author's words:

Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.

John Lavallo57 Posts

John is Columbia Business School MBA with expertise in marketing, business leadership, and law. John is a successful entrepreneur who took his first company public. He currently resides in New York City.