JK Rowling may just be the most successful writer in publishing history. She is the undeniable publishing powerhouse of our times. How did she do it? How did a single mom living on state benefits end up becoming one of the most successful and wealthy women of our times? While Rowling professes to a lifelong love of literature and writing, it was not until her life appeared the most disorganized that she was able to pursue her dream wholeheartedly. She first got the idea for Harry Potter while stuck in commute. Here train commute was delayed between Manchester and London for four hours, and it was during this period that she says the idea of Harry Potter first came to her. When she got home, she set about writing down her ideas immediately.
In December 1994, Rowling's had appeared to have taken a turn for the worse. She was recently divorced, unemployed and living as a single mother with her sister in Edinburgh, Scotland. She continued to live 'on the dole' as she completed her first novel. That book turned out to be Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States). She finished her novel in 1995, typing out the manuscript on an old manual typewriter. She sent the finished manuscript to Bryony Evans, a manuscript reader who was immediately enthusiastic over the novel. He was asked to only review the first three chapters, but he became an enthusiastic early supporter of Rowling. From his response, the Christopher Little Literary Agents in Fulham agreed to take Rowling on as a client and represent her in their quest to find a suitable publisher. The book was delivered to twelve separate publishing houses, all of whom rejected the manuscript. Finally, a year later, the book was finally accepted by Barry Cunningham, the editor of a small publishing press known as Bloomsbury. One tale to emerge from this early period is the story of Alice Newton, the eight-year-old daughter of the publishing chairperson. She was given the first chapter to review by her father, and upon finishing, the girl immediately demanded more. Even though her novel had been accepted for publication, Rowling's editors advised her to get a day job since she was unlikely to make a living at writing children's books. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
However, with a grant from the Scottish Arts Council, Rowling was able to continue work on her book series. Rowling's first of many major publishing successes occurred when Scholastic Inc. paid Rowling more than $100,000 to publish her first book in the United States. In June of 1997, the Bloomsbury publishing house printed a small initial print run of only 1,000 copies of the first Harry Potter book. Now, these first print runs have become highly sought-after collector's items. The book began to garner its share of positive criticism and began to pick up several book awards.
To this date, Rowling has written and published six Harry Potter’s books, and each has been more successful than the one before. Rowling is currently working on the seventh, and last, book of the series. The last three Harry Potter books that have been published have broken all kinds of records, and they have been noted as the fastest-selling books in all of history. The sixth Harry Potter book has been the most successful thus far, and currently holds the title of the Guinness World Record award for the fastest-selling book ever. It is said that the sixth Harry Potter book sold more copies in its first 24 hours of availability than The Da Vinci Code did in one whole year.
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