Author JK Rowling, whose Harry Potter novels have made her one of the world's richest women, has posted rejection slips she received from two publishers when she sent out her first crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbrath. Rowling, who used a pseudonym because she did not want the book to be overshadowed by her former success, says she published the comments after being asked by aspiring writers how she handled rejection.
The two publishers were Constable & Robinson and Creme de la Crime, but Rowling blurred out the names of the people who sent the response because she published their letters "for inspiration not revenge." Of the two, the reply from Creme de la Crime is by far the most succinct, saying only that the company was now unable to accept new submissions.
The reply from Constable and Robinson however suggests Galbrath possibly attend a writing course – which caused some amusement for Rowling's many fans. Having also been famously rejected by several publishers and agents, the Harry Potter books have sold an estimated 400 million copies worldwide. The rejection letter from Constable and Robinson also advises "Galbrath" not to give away the ending in the blurb and to state what genre in which "he" was writing.
"Double check in a helpful bookshop, on Amazon or in the twice yearly 'Buyer's Guide' of Bookseller Magazine precisely who are the publishers now of your fiction category/genre," advises the letter, "Then send to each editor an alluring 200-word blurb (as in book jackets; don't give away the ending!) the first chapter plus perhaps two others and an S.A.E."
Rowling says she did not publish the most hurtful rejection, which came in an email from a publisher who had also turned down Harry Potter. She had not published the Potter rejection slips, she said, because they were now in a box in her attic. However Rowling isn't the only famous author to have faced multiple rejections. James Joyce, John le Carre and indeed almost all writers have similar boxes in their attic – some larger than others...