How important is a name to a best-selling brand? And what happens when it gets removed?
Those are the questions J.K. Rowling has put to test over the past three years. After constructing an entire Potter world that is not-so-slowly infiltrating our real world, the UK’s best-selling living author began to write under the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith—a name that pays tribute to both Robert Kennedy and Rowling’s childhood fantasy name, Ella Galbraith.
Rowling has published three books of the Cormoran Strike series under the Galbraith moniker (2013’s The Cuckoo’s Calling, 2014’s The Silkworm and 2015’s Career of Evil), but there were some rejections along the way. Constable & Robinson turned her down, and someone from the Creme De La Crime publishing house responded to her pitch with: “I regret we cannot reply individually or provide constructive criticism. (A writers’ group/writing course may help with the latter.)” A pitch from J.K. Rowling would have assuredly received a more personal response—or perhaps even a book deal.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 25, 2016
The author then posted the documents on Twitter “for inspiration, not revenge.” She added, “I pinned my first rejection letter to my kitchen wall because it gave me something in common with all my fave writers!” The rejections also give her something in common with 99.9% of all writers—welcome to the club, Robert! (To be fair, Rowling’s rags to riches story from welfare writer to literary mogul came with lots of rejection and definitely does inspire me.)
“I wasn’t going to give up until every single publisher turned me down, but I often feared that would happen,” she tweeted in regard to shopping Harry Potter.
Any writers out there have their own rejections stories to share? Let us know in the comments.
IMAGE: Dan Hallman/Invision/AP