J.K. Rowling Tweets Rejection Letters As Inspiration For Future Authors

Author J.K. Rowling, the first female novelist in the world to become a billionaire, is one of the most successful authors of our time, but she didn’t start out that way and has the rejection letters to show for it. Working hard and refusing to give up, her persistence paid off and is the reason she has attained the level of fame and success she enjoys today.

Rowling kept on submitting her work until she did find a publisher for her books, and now she’s passing on her words of wisdom to aspiring authors in need of encouragement. When a fan asked Rowling to post photos of rejection letters she’s received, she mentioned the ones she got for Harry Potter by tweeting, “The Potter ones are now in a box in my attic, but I could show you Robert Galbraith’s?”

The first Harry Potter novel was rejected 12 times, according to Uproxx, before Bloomsbury became the publisher of the book. It ended up selling 107 million copies, and over 400 million copies of the entire series has been sold.

Rowling posted pictures of two rejection letters on Twitter from two different publishing houses, both of whom passed on her second adult novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Numerous publishers passed on publishing the novel, not realizing they were communicating with the Harry Potter author, who was using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Rowling blurred out the signatures from the rejection letters because she was posting them for “inspiration, not revenge.” One particularly brutal rejection arrived via email, and while Rowling did not reveal the entire message, she did say it came from the same publisher who had also rejected Harry Potter.

Rowling posted a photo of the letter from Constable & Robinson, which read it “could not publish [The Cuckoo’s Calling] with commercial success.” The letter gave advice to Rowling, The Guardian reported, suggesting she should find a writers’ group or writing course to get constructive criticism.

The second photo was of a letter from Creme de la Crime publishers explaining they became part of Severn House Publishers and are “unable to accept new submissions at the moment.”

Rowling told NPR she chose the pseudonym Robert Galbraith because she felt a tremendous amount of pressure with writing something new after the success of Harry Potter.

“There was a phenomenal amount of pressure that went with being the writer of Harry Potter, and that aspect of publishing those books I do not particularly miss. So, you can probably understand the appeal of going away and creating something very different, and just letting it stand or fall on its own merits.”

After one of J.K. Rowling’s Twitter followers asked what keeps her motivated, she answered, “I wasn’t going to give up until every single publisher turned me down, but I often feared that would happen.”

She added, “I had nothing to lose, and sometimes that makes you brave enough to try.”

Author Joanne Harris joined Rowling in the Twitter discussion, joking that she “made a sculpture” out of the rejection letters she received for her 1999 novel Chocolat. The novel, which was successful, was later made into a film starring Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, and Johnny Depp.

The Cuckoo’s Calling was published by Sphere Books, an imprint of Little, Brown & Company, in 2013. It sold about 1,500 copies before her identity was revealed by the Sunday Times newspaper.

What do you think about the rejection letters J.K. Rowling received?

[Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File]