JK Rowling On Getting Published

Her fascinating path, from rags to riches.


JK Rowling On Getting Published

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 On Getting Published

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!

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Avatar of Angela Davis

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.

Reader Discussion: 16 Comments

  1. Avatar of Dewmilk


    I LOVE HARRY POTTER!!!!!!! JK Rowling is awesome and so creative! She managed to write 223 pages of pure AWESOME on a typewriter!

    I’m an aspiring writer myself and I need a publisher. If you know any, please ask them to consider my books.

  2. Avatar of Ann Justine

    Ann Justine

    Harry Potter books are soooooooooo good! I like how fantasizing they are and thank you so much, J.K. Rowling. Your books are so wonderful and what you have been through transforms your books.

  3. Avatar of Georgia Neil

    Georgia Neil

    I was introduced to Harry Potter at a young age and went on a hunt looking for all the books I’m so glad there’s someone who can write the way J.K. Rowling can she made my childhood amazing and if I’m ever angry I always watch/read harry potter to calm myself back down as I get so intrigued by the story over and over again

  4. Avatar of Gwyn Pappert

    Gwyn Pappert

    I was first introduced to the first Harry Potter book by my 8 year old grand daughter after her teacher began reading the book to the class. I was hooked & that first book is still my favorite. All the characters are fresh, new & so easy to love. I have all the books & look forward to reading them to my 4 year old identical twin great grand daughters. I also have seen all the movies, but I’m a purist —always love the book better then the movie. I just got “The Cursed Child”. Not sure how I feel about it, have to read it again. Thank you for Harry Potter, it’s brought alot of joy.

  5. Avatar of Vernon H. Barnes

    Vernon H. Barnes

    Why are there first editions of Harry Potter from various publishers in various countries. Are they really a true first edition? I would like to collect true first editions of all books in the series.

  6. Avatar of Mandi


    Great interview! Very helpful for inspirational for aspiring writers!

  7. Avatar of Randie Cadiogan

    Randie Cadiogan

    J.K. Rowling is such an imaginative author. I must admit that she awakens childhood fantasies and imagination through her Harry Potter series 🙂

  8. Avatar of Auriane Desombre

    Her story is so wonderful–she overcame so much to reach success. And she has used her fame to become a positive role model and spokesperson for girls everywhere. Truly an inspiration!

  9. Avatar of Jen Spillane

    Jen Spillane

    I love that J.K. Rowling manages to write even when she doesn't have tons of time. It's all about making time for what's important to you : )

  10. Avatar of Francis Wods

    Francis Wods

    I own about 2 of her books, it’s a really good read. I also seen all the movies and I’m a complete fan. I also like to write and it’s pretty cool how ideas pop into your mind and then when you add pen +paper it comes to life.. It’s amazing how this idea during a long train ride became a top-selling series with movie adaptions. It just proves hat big things can have small beginnings.

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