J.K. Rowling Inspires Writers With Her Rejections

by Caitlin White

Even after a certain boy wizard captured the imaginations of people around the globe, J.K. Rowling was still being rejected by publishing houses when she tried to step outside Hogwarts and her Harry Potter universe. On Twitter, J.K. Rowling shared two rejection letters she received after she submitted manuscripts of The Cuckoo’s Calling under her pen name Robert Galbraith. Whoops, bet those publishers are feeling pretty silly now.

But while the editors at those publishing houses are probably banging their heads against their desks, this is inspiring news for all aspiring writers. After all, if J.K. Rowling's manuscript can be rejected, chances are you can still be OK after yours is rejected, too.

Moreover, when a fan on Twitter asked to see any rejection letters she received, Rowling indicated that she can share "Robert Galbraith's" letters, but the several she got from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone are hidden away in a box in her attic. You heard that correctly: More than one publishing house rejected Harry Potter. Ouch. (For them.) If that wasn't bad enough for the publisher, Rowling tells the story of how the same publisher that initially made the (life-changing) mistake of turning down the first Harry Potter book also sent Robert Galbraith the "rudest rejection." That person is now hanging his or her head in shame.

And because J.K. Rowling is the queen of Twitter, she was candid about sharing this all openly on the social media platform, which she said was in the spirit of inspiration, not revenge.

Zooming in, you can see some of what the rejection letters say, and in hindsight, it's pretty hilarious. One offered the writer some advice to "double-check in a helpful bookshop" about who the current publishers of her fiction genre are. And also: "I regret that we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we could not publish it [your book] with commercial success."

She also had this to say, encouraging writers to never stop trying.

So the next time you receive a rejection letter about your magazine story pitch, your memoir, or your novel, just remember that you now have something in common with J.K. Rowling.