Harry Potter Author J.K Rowling: On Turning A Great Story Into A Billion-Dollar Franchise

Harry Potter Author J.K RowlingIt all began with one single book; an idea revolving the character of Harry Potter. When the first book hit the shelves, there was much hype around the world. At the time, I didn’t care too much of the book, thinking… it’s yet another children’s novel that delves into the supernatural realm of magic.

Harry Potter Author J.K RowlingYears have passed since that day, and the Harry Potter series continue to be a runaway smash hit. What started out as a children’s book, has got massive attention from adults as well. Yes, my initial perception of Harry Potter books has changed!

Ever wondered how J.K Rowling, a divorced single mother, living in reduced circumstances, became a multi-millionaire within a short space of time?

Here are some lessons we can all learn from her success journey.

1. There Are Fringe Benefits Of Failure!

“Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged,” said Rowling at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association. “I was set free [by failure], because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

2. Make Best Use Of Your “Idle” Time

Did you know that it was during a four-hour train delay between Manchester and London that Rowling first put pen to paper about a young boy attending a school of wizardry? This is a reminder that whether you're stuck on a train, jammed in traffic or sitting alone before a meeting you should use this "idle” time to your benefit.

3. Reject The Rejector!

J.K Rowling’s first submission of Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone to a publishes was rejected. So, was the second one (I bet they must be kicking themselves now!). J.K Rowling, didn’t let negative thoughts get the best of her, when she was rejected. She kept on going. Her perseverance paid of incredibly, as the 3rd publisher accepted the manuscript.

Rejection doesn’t have to mean you’re no good; it can just mean you’re not in the right place at the right time!

4. Believe In Yourself

You have got to have faith in what you do. If you don’t believe in your own thoughts and deeds, no one else will.

Publishers kept turning down the Harry Potter book mainly because "it was too long". If she wanted to get it published, she could have easily reduced the number of pages. She believed that it was necessary and had enough faith in her creation, to persist until it was published.

5. Imagine Yourself As A Winner

In an interview, J.K Rowling was asked if she had any difficulty coping with the obvious changes that success had brought her. She replied, “No” because for 5 yrs she had seen the world through the eyes of her main character, Harry Potter and he was an extremely successful person. Rowling’s adjustment to her new lifestyle was not a problem because she had spend years visualizing success.

Are you a Harry Potter fan?
What do you think contributed to J.K Rowling's success?
Leave a comment. Let's discuss.

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positivelypresent said...

This is a great post and as someone who hopes to be an author someday it was so inspiring to read about one of the most famous, successful authors out there. Thanks for posting this. I feel inspired to get to work now! :)

Shamelle said...

@Positivelypresent: Sometimes, we forget that its just "ordinary" people(like us!) that go on to achieve the remarkable. Indeed, stories like this are a dose of inspiration.

Paul Maurice Martin said...

Her story is extremely unusual - and in nonfiction for sure, but pretty much in fiction too nowadays, a "marketing platform" is needed or agents and publishers - even small independent publishers - simply will not look at your work.

Literary Market Place: "If you are submitting a nonfiction book proposal without a marketng platform you are wasting your time."

A marketing platform is a preexisting audience for one's work. Obviously celebrities have this, but even minor platforms can work with smaller publishers - for example, if you're in business and do a lot of public speaking.

Victoria Stauss's sites - I have no affiliation with her - are excellent online sources of realistic info for writers, including avoiding the sharks in the waters. There are many PODs that prey on the aspirations of writers who are uninformed of the bottom line nature of publishing today.

Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills said...

I like all 5 points, but especially #3 - reject the rejector. We should never let someone who doesn't see our vision stand in our way. There have been countless successful people who were told they would never make it. That brings us right to #4 Believe in yourself.

Avani Mehta said...

I am a big Harry Potter fan. Have read all books and seen all movies. His story and JK Rowling's story remind me that extra-ordinary people are ordinary people who do extra-ordinary things.

The 'fringe benefits of failure' is an interesting way of looking at things. Sometimes, failure in one place leads us to success in other. Your life failures are nothing but a preparation leading to a huge success in your life .. if you are willing to keep up.

jonathan figaro said...

Perseverance is one of the great keys to success. We have to keep knocking on the door of oppurtnity until it opens up and let us in for dinner and a movie!

GReat post!

Diane said...

I love Harry Potter and the author!
I think her work is outstanding and that is why it is such a success not all books are so stunning and her success is the work of her manuscript. These are inspirational good works that in my opinion are rare not common place in literature. I think it is in the empowering subject matter that she developed with such detail and style like her unique touch was a gift to all who read it. My children loved her books and I read a few too! I think a masterpiece like her writing is a mark sheer excellence.
I loved your post and all the inspirational tie ins you made on her journey from a single mom to best selling author extra-ordinare!


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