JK Rowling reveals cringe-worthy rejection letter telling her to join writing class
J K Rowling, the author, has shared one of the rejection letters sent to Robert Galbraith, advising 'him' to join a writer's group
Published 25/03/2016 | 12:16
They have been some of the most painful career mistakes in history: the record-label which turned down the Beatles, the editor who told Walt Disney he lacked imagination, and the publishers who rejected J K Rowling.
The misery of the latter has today been compounded after Rowling shared the painful rejection letter she received, warning her adult crime novels could never be commercially successful.
The author, who wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, was turned down by several publishers after submitting her manuscripts anonymously.
She has now disclosed the details letter sent by Constable and Robinson, a noted crime imprint, which advised her to learn more about how to pitch and consider joining a writer's class.
"I regret we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we could not publish it with commercial success," it reads.
"At the risk of 'teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, may I respectfully suggest the following."
The publisher went on to list tips and tricks to help a budding would-be author, including asking a helpful bookshop for advice on who would best represent their style of work, learning how to write an "alluring" 200-word blurb to sell it and picking up the Writer's Handbook.
Apologising for being unable to provide constructive criticism about the manuscript itself, it added: "A writer's group/writing course may help."
It went on to wish her "every success in placing your work elsewhere".
Rowling, who tweeted a photograph of the letter, obscured the name and signature of the editor who sent it, saying she intended it merely as inspiration for other writers.
I wasn't going to give up until every single publisher turned me down, but I often feared that would happen. https://t.co/bMKu4zJ3nm— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 25, 2016
The story of her many rejections for her first Harry Potter novel has become the stuff of literary legend, with new authors taking heart from her early failures.
The Harry Potter series went on to become one of the best-loved and best-selling children's franchise of all time, with seven books, eight films and an ever-expanding commercial empire to its name.
Following its success, and the publication of the adult novel The Casual Vacancy, Rowling secretly wrote her first crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling, under an assumed name.
Robert Galbraith, it now appears, was no more successful in selling his books initially.
Rowling revealed one publisher, which she did not name, had the honour of being the first to turn down Harry Potter and send Galbraith "his rudest rejection (by email)".
Another publisher, Creme de la Crime, sent a blanket rejection letter telling Galbraith they were not accepting new submissions.
The Cuckoo's Calling was eventually published by Little, Brown Book Group, receiving criticial acclaim before Rowling was unexpectedly unmasked as the real author.
Constable and Robinson were taken over by Little, Brown in 2014, several years after the letter was sent.