JK Rowling On Getting Published
Her fascinating path, from rags to riches.
Urbanette: It must have been hard to finish the book now with a small child in your life.
JK Rowling: It was hard, but I made it work. Every time Jessica would fall asleep in her pushchair/stroller, I’d dash to the nearest café and write as much as I could. I wrote nearly every evening. Then, I had to type everything out myself. Sometimes, I hated the book, and all the while I still loved it.
Urbanette: When you sent it off to agents, did they take the manuscript right away or do you have to send it to several people?
JK Rowling: The first agent I had sent my first three chapters off to had sent my manuscript back so fast that it seemed like they sent it back the same day it arrived. The second agent however, wrote back and asked to see the rest of the manuscript. It was one of the best letters I had ever seen and it was only two sentences long.
Urbanette: How long did it take your agent to find someone to publish your book?
JK Rowling: It took my agent, Christopher, a year to find a publisher. Many of them turned it down. Then finally in August of 1996, Christopher called to let me know that he had an offer from Bloomsbury. I couldn’t believe my ears. After I had hung up, I screamed and jumped into the air. Jessica, who was sitting in her high chair, enjoying her tea, looked thoroughly scared. And the rest as you may guess is history.
JK Rowling has managed time and time again to capture the essence of a magical world we all would love to believe exists.
Urbanette: In your opinion, where was the best place for you to write?
JK Rowling: It’s no secret that the best place to write, in my opinion, is in a café. You don’t have to make your own coffee, you don’t have to feel like you’re in solitary confinement and if you have writers block, you can get up and walk to the next café while giving your batteries time to recharge and brain time to think. The best writing café is crowded enough to where you blend in, but not too crowded that you have to share a table with someone else.
Urbanette: Many people wonder what Squibs are. Could you explain?
JK Rowling: I’ve been asked this question many times since it was introduced in Chamber of Secrets. Squibs are the opposite of muggle-born wizards. They are non-magical people born to one magical parent. Squibs are rare, magic is a dominant and resilient gene.
Urbanette: Do you have any advice for people who want to get their work published as well?
JK Rowling: First, you need to write something a publisher would want to read. It only takes one, but it might take awhile to find them. Next, you need to approach the publisher, either directly, or I recommend you find an agent you can help act on your behalf. The best way to find agents and publishers is to consult, “The Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook,’ which is updated every year. Then wait, and pray. This is the way I got Harry Potter published.
What’s your favorite Harry Potter book? Let us know, below!
Originally from Denver and now living in NYC, Angie has been writing since she was small. She lives in the Flatiron district with her partner Tanya and their mutt Sparky (always adopt!) In her spare time she loves to paint (mostly abstract) and talk to random people on the street to find out what's interesting to them.