Friday, November 19, 2010

Diamond in the Slush

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS was released on July 21, 2007, and sold 11 million copies on the first day of its release, breaking Rowling's earlier records for the fastest selling book of all time.
The Deathly Hallows, Part One, hit the movie theaters as of midnight last night. As I plan my night out to see it, I can't help but remember that J.K. Rowling had to deal with a lot of rejection before Alice came into her life. Who is Alice? She was Bloomsbury Publishing's chief-executive, Nigel Newton, eight-year-old daughter, who read the manuscript and convinced her father of its brilliance.It was Alice who saw the diamond in the slush pile, which led her father to eventually acquire the book, sending J.K. Rowling £2,500. Not a bad investment since the Potter series went on to sell 400 million copies.

Such gems are often lost in slush piles and most writers slog through to find their route to publication. When Stephen King submitted his first book he was told: "We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell." His novel CARRIE went on to sell more than one million copies and established his career. George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM was rejected as a cute kids' fairy tale and was told by an publisher that "It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.'' James Joyce's collection of short stories Dubliners was turned down by 22 publishers before it was published by Grant Richards. THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK was dismissed when a publisher noted: "The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift the book above the curiosity level.'' When William Golding tried to publish LORD OF THE FLIES, a reader from Faber & Faber famously branded it as "an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull".

Many of today's best known authors have had to persevere in order to get to where they are today. I'm sad to see Harry Potter coming to its end, but am hopeful other diamonds will be pulled out the slush for our enjoyment!


  1. Hello! I just finished your book Shooting Kabul and made abbout it- many others did too! Thanks!

    1. I'm glad you liked it and thanks for dropping by.