J.K. Rowling was born in Yate, Gloucestershire. She is an author, screenwriter, and film producer best known as the author of the popular Harry Potter series. Her wealth is estimated at $1.2 billion. How did she make all this money from writing? It’s all here for you to find out.
JK Rowling Biography
Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born on July 31, 1965, in England. She is one of those successful people with the “Rags To Riches” story. Her love for literature began quite early in life. As a child, she would often write fantasy stories and read them to her younger sister. She also fell in love with the works of English author and civil right’s activists Jessica Mitford after she read her autobiography given to her by her great-aunt. She even named her first daughter Jessica after the author.
After being rejected at the Oxford University, Rowling attended The University of Exeter where she studied French and Classics. After graduating in 1986, she worked in London for the Amnesty International as a researcher and bilingual secretary and later moved to Manchester where she worked at the Chamber of Commerce.
Her Books – Writing Harry Potter
In 1990, while on a delayed train trip from Manchester to London, Rowling developed the idea to write what would later become the famous Harry Potter series. Unfortunately for J.K, while she began penning her idea, she lost her mom, separated from her first husband and was left alone to cater for her daughter. Rowling became so poor and unable to cater for her young one and had to live off state welfare benefits.
However, she didn’t allow the situations to discourage her, though she was later diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide, Rowling kept on writing her story. She even incorporated some of the events that happened to her in her story. You know what they say, bad things happen for a reason. For example, Dementors – the soul-sucking creatures (if you are a Harry Potter fan) which were introduced in the third book was inspired by her sickness.
Publishing and First Success
Rowling finished writing her novel in 1995, five years after she had begun. She titled it “Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone”. The manuscript was rejected by 12 publishers before an editor from Bloomsbury decided to edit the book a year later. Thanks to Bloomsbury’s chairman’s 8-year-old daughter Alice Newton, the body decided to publish the book – her father had given her the first chapter to read which she did with great anticipation requesting for the next. Rowling received £1,500 in advance payment.
In 1997, Bloomsbury published the first 1000 copies of the book sending half of it to libraries, the original copies are today said to be valued at $25,000. Five months later the book won the first of its many awards.
Book Successes and Earnings
A year later, in 1998, Scholastic Inc. won the bid to publish the book for $105,000 in an auction held in the US. The book was published in the US as “Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone”. That was only the beginning of Rowling’s success. The same year, the first sequel “Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets” was published, she had received £8,000 from Scottish Arts Council to enable her to continue with the writing.
The 4th sequel “Goblet of Fire” broke sales record in the US and UK after selling over 300,000 copies in the first day of its release. Every book in the series won at least one Award. The sixth series “Half-Blood Prince” sold 9 million copies in the first 24 hours of release while the seventh “Deathly Hallows” sold 11 million copies making it the fastest book to be sold in history.
Rowling to this day continues to bank from the sale of the original Harry Potter series which have sold over 450 million copies worldwide. And if Rowling is getting the standard 15% cut for authors then for the book sales only, she has earned over $1 billion. The books have also been translated into 65 different languages.
Adaptation of Harry Potter
In 1998 Warner Bros bought the rights to the first two books for a reported £1 million. All 7 books have been adapted into 8 feature films with Rowling involved in its screenplay and production. The entire 8-part movie has grossed over $8 billion at the global box office making it the second highest-grossing film series in history and Rowling gets a substantial slice of the gross earnings.
Thanks to Harry Potter, JK Rowling became the first ever billionaire author and is currently the UK’s best selling author alive. The popularity of Harry Potter has led to the creation of over 400 licensed products including theme parks and video games. Rowling gets about $60 million in licensing fees as well as a cut from tickets and merchandise sold. The brand is said to be worth over $15 million.
Her other works focused on the adult audience includes “The Casual Vacancy” (2012), “The Cuckoo’s Calling” (2013), “The Silkworm” (2014) and “Career of Evil” (2015).
Rowling is actively involved in philanthropy. She has given over $160 million to help a number of causes including single parents, multiple sclerosis (of which her mother died of), and others.
In 2015 Rowling co-authored the 8th part of the Harry Potter series “Harry Potter And The Cursed Child” which is based on Harry’s son Albus Severus. The book was adapted into a two-part play and made the world premiere at the Palace Theater on July 30, 2016. In all, J.K. Rowling’s earning is $2 million larger than $1 billion as at the time of this report and it all came from Harry Potter.
With the net worth figure above, one could practically afford any mansion. Sometime in 2011, Rowling bought a £1million house next to her home. Guess what she did with the house? She knocked it down in order to extend her garden.
She would later get a planning permit to erect gigantic tree houses in the garden. It was reported that the 40ft structures are only a part of her renovation plan for her Edinburgh home.
J.K Rowling Husband, Daughter and Children
Rowling lives in Edinburgh Scotland with her second husband, Neil Murray, and three children. Rowling and Neil got married in December 2001. Before Neil, Rowling was once married to Jorge Arantes, a journalist she met while she was in Portugal. The short spanned marriage (Oct 1992 – Nov 1993) ended as a result of incompatibility and reported abuse. Rowling had her first child a girl named Jessica Arantes from the marriage.
Seven years later, Rowling got married again to Neil. The couple has two children together; David Murray their son, and Mackenzie Murray their daughter. Neil is a medical doctor from Scotland.