During my adventure towards publication, I often wondered how other writers made it through. Those who reached the NYT bestseller list; those you went on to have their books turned in to blockbuster films. How did they all start? How did they navigate the confusing and harsh world of publishing, and come out intact and, more importantly, sane?
As with most of my little personal musings, I’ve decided to do a blog feature on some of our favorite authors. Learn what inspired their infamous works, how they found publication, and what happened after!
This week, I am starting with J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter franchise, and Wattpads very own Anna Todd, author of the spectacularly popular After series.
J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter
Joanne Rowling is known around the world as the mind behind the most famous magical adventure series, Harry Potter. But what they may not realize, was the struggle she faced before that one story changed her life.
‘Jo’ Rowling, who took on the moniker J.K. as she believed boys wouldn’t want to read a book written by a girl, first came up with the idea for Harry Potter while on a four hour train delay in 1990. When she finally reached her flat, she began writing immediately, finishing the work in 1995 with the use of an old manual typewriter. The work was a savior for Rowling, who after seven years out of university felt herself a failure. Her first marriage came to an end, she had a young child and no job, living on the welfare system. She suffered clinical depression, the feelings generating inspiration for the soul sucking creatures introduced in the third book, Dementors. Additionally, the death of Rowlings mother was the catalyst for the loss of Potters own parents, the detail of his feelings being stemmed from Rowlings own grief.
In 1995, after an enthusiastic response from a friend and agent, the book was submitted to twelve publishers. All rejected the manuscript ALL OF THEM. A year later, she was offered a small advance by an editor at Bloomsbury, who had given the first chapter to his daughter, who immediately demanded more. Bloomsbury encouraged Rowling to seek a day job, as they believed she had little chance of making money from childrens books.
Oh how wrong they were. In 1997, the initial copies of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, half of which were distributed to librarys, are now valued at approximately 25,000pound. Rowling went from rags to riches, being the first person in history to become a billionaire from writing.
Rowlings success proves that rejection is not the end. Challenges are not always insurmountable. And sometimes, all you need is a little faith, and a little magic.
Anna Todd – After
For those of you familiar with Wattpad, there is no way you have not heard the name Anna Todd. And if by chance you had been living under a rock, let me say this: After.
That should ring a bell.
The worldwide phenomenon that brought fanfiction to the forefront of fiction along side 50 Shades of Grey started as a pastime. Tired of waiting for her favorite authors to update their stories, Todd decided to try her own hand at writing under the name imaginator1D in 2013. Using Harry Styles of One Direction as her main character, she created an AU world of secrets, drama and betrayal that reached heights that Wattpad had never seen before. The series has surpassed 1 billion reads online, a feat never seen before in online writing.
Big 5 publisher Simon and Shuster snatched up the publishing rights, signing Todd to a six figure advance. The fanfare around the books continued to blow up around the world, with Todd now a New York Times bestselling author. The book has now been taken up by Paramount Pictures, and is currently in the preproduction stages of becoming a major motion picture.
Todd is the quintessential supergirl of the fanfiction world, has inspired countless other fanfiction writers to seek publication, and encourages others to strive for their dreams.
Random thoughts from me on books, writing, news and more!