J.K. Rowling and Her ‘Otherworldly’ Success: Halloween Horror Month Part II
Her marriage was over. She was jobless; on welfare. And she was so broke that she had to type 12 copies of her first book “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” on a manual typewriter to send to each publisher because she could not afford a computer. J. K. Rowling of ‘Harry Potter’ fame was really down on her luck, but then, almost like the magical world that she wrote about, her first book Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone just flew off the shelves as if by an act of witchcraft itself.
But was it magic; or was it a certain genius in Rowling that had its roots deep in her intuition that led to her success? Actually the idea for this book about the exploits of a boy wizard was birthed out of deep out of her imagination while she was delayed on a train to London. And it surfaced into her mind as if out of nowhere.
Born on July 31, 1965 in Yate, Gloucester, England, she proved to be a bright student both in high school and college, howbeit she was not outstanding, for she admittedly did not work hard. She began writing ‘Harry Potter’ upon graduation while being employed as a bilingual secretary by Amnesty International. But unfortunately, her much beloved mother died before she knew Rowling was writing her book, and with that tragedy, and with the collapse of her marriage to a physically abusive husband in the early 1990s, whom she met while working her second job as a teacher in Portugal, she became depressed and contemplated suicide.
But she went on to move to Edinburgh, Scotland and complete her first novel, writing in cursive, while hanging out in cafes with her newborn infant daughter by her side. But her “luck” seemingly changed suddenly when her book Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone was finally accepted (after being rejected by 11 other publishers) by Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury Publishing in London. An 8 year old girl associated with the company had gotten all excited about the book. Apparently, Rowling knew her young audience.
Then she was caught up in a whirlwind of success that seemed to have had a supernatural life all its own. A whole series of “Harry Potter” books evolved, after which the book sold upwards of 500 million copies, and then numerous movies followed making Rowling the wealthiest writer that ever lived, according to Forbes magazine.
But was this phenomenal success actually supernatural. As if the result of an act of witchcraft itself; or did Rowling just know the heartbeat of her adolescent audience and what peeks their curiosity about the occult of these older children in middle school? I think the real secret to Rowling’s success was her marketing genius and her keen intuition in knowing what her audience wanted to read. In short, it was no accident that Harry Potter, the amazing wizard, was their own age.