On July 20, 2007 I distinctly remember spending the good part of the evening plus about half the night at the Barnes & Nobles that was down the street from me.
Now you may ask, “Why in the world was an 11-year-old who was celebrating her birthday spending over 6 hours in a Barnes & Nobles?”
The answer is that I was in that Barnes & Nobles for the same reason 300 other people were in that Barnes & Nobles – to wait for the release of the final book in the Harry Potter Series – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I admit I am not a die-hard crazy fan of the Harry Potter Series. Not because I don’t like it, just because I never really got that into it. I will always appreciate a Harry Potter movie but would I choose that over a Columbo or Murder, She Wrote marathon? Meh….
What I really appreciate though, and something that I’m coming to appreciate more and more as I continue to go through my college career, is how Harry Potter came to be.
To lay it all down on the table because honestly this could take up an entire book, J.K. Rowling overcame just about every imaginable obstacle to become one of the most successful and influential writers in history. She lived in poverty described by her as, “poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless” (Wikipedia, 2016), she went through an abusive relationship, she was diagnosed with clinical depression, she considered suicide, her mother passed away, she raised a baby.
And on top of all that, she wrote the first Harry Potter book.
Rowling’s ability to persevere through all those obstacles is nothing short of incredible.
But there is one thing that stands out to me more than anything else.
In 1995, when Rowling finished the manuscript for the first Harry Potter book, literary agent Bryony Evens agreed to represent Rowling in finding a publisher.
The manuscript was submitted to 12 publishing houses who all rejected the book.
Let me put this another way – 12 publishing houses passed up the chance to publish the highest grossing book series in history.
(To be honest, I don’t know if 12 is exactly the correct number. I’ve seen 12 and 9, sometimes even 6. Either way, I’m sticking with 12 for as far as this post is concerned).
It was the 13th publishing house, Bloomsbury that took Rowling up on the book, and at the time even they cautioned her to get a job because there was a good chance she wouldn’t be able to make a living from selling children’s books.
(Just so you know, Rowling is now considered the wealthiest author in the world).
The thing that speaks to me the most is how after 12 publishing houses rejected her book, rejected the thing Rowling had put her heart and soul into, she still found the confidence and stubbornness inside of herself to keep submitting her book for review with the help of her agent.
And as it just so happened, that confidence and stubbornness needed to risk a 13th rejection was exactly what was needed to get her first book published.
Just imagine if Rowling had given up after that 12th publishing house.
Remember Fact Of Life #15: All ideas are stupid until they finally work, and then everybody wants a piece of the pie.
In conclusion, there are two things that Harry Potter reminds me to do:
- To always believe in magic, and
- To always believe in my ideas no matter what anybody else says
Housekeeping Note: All information was taken from the below links.