J.K. Rowling's Magical Success Story

The Harry Potter book series is the best-selling book series of all time, selling over 400 million copies worldwide. From the books, it vaulted into 8 films, endless merchandising and a theme park. Harry Potter is now a full-blown franchise worth an estimated 15 billion dollars. The woman behind who created this beloved universe is J.K. Rowling, who became the first billionaire author. Before the unfathomable success of Harry Potter came along, Rowling was a single mother struggling to make end’s meet and battling severe depression. Despite all of her personal hardship, Rowling kept pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer. The result was nothing short of magical. This is the story of J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling knew from a very young age that she wanted to write books, and continued to write all throughout her young adulthood. Her formative young adult years were very difficult as her mother was very ill, and her relationship with her father was very strained. In 1990, her mother passed away  while she was conceptualizing the idea for the first Harry Potter book. She never told her mother about the idea, but writing the story was very therapeutic in dealing with the loss of her mother.

In 1993, Rowling was a poor single mother raising a young daughter. She was receiving help from the British government so that she could get by. She strolled her daughter along so that she would fall asleep. With her daughter sleeping by her side, Rowling would handwrite Harry Potter out in various cafes. She kept on with her writing and had a finished manuscript of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 1995. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before finding a company to publish her book. She was advised to find a day job because her publishers believed that she wouldn’t make enough money writing children’s books. Her first book was met with great success in the UK, and then the publishing rights were sold in the U.S. for $105,000 to Scholastica Press. At the time, that kind of money boggled Rowling’s mind. She told Oprah Winfrey that the success was like becoming a Beatle, accept they had each other to awe at their success, she was by herself. Of course, Rowling’s success had only just begun, little did she know that it was going to rise exponentially.

The success of the books sustained throughout the series run. The Goblet of Fire the fourth installment sold three million copies in its first 48 hours of release. The Half-Blood Prince (book 6) sold 9 million in its first day. This ended up being surpassed by the final book, The Deathly Hallows, which sold 11 million copies its first day.

9 years removed from finishing the Potter series, readers have just been given a transcripted version of a recently released play called Harry Potter and The Cursed Child which Rowling co-wrote. Tickets for the play are selling for $6000, and that doesn’t even guarantee entry. She also wrote the script for a film set in the Potter Universe, called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That film will be released in November. Philanthropy has also kept Rowling busy. She started a charity called Lumos (named after a spell) which provides relief for orphans all around the world.

What makes Rowling’s success a particularly great story is that it involved bringing happiness to millions and her books encouraged people to read in a blossoming digital age.

Funny enough, Rowling doesn’t believe in what her books classify as magic. She believes that magic comes from within. Luckily for us, Rowling used her magic to move the masses to make people believe that they are capable of anything. “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better,” Rowling said.

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