- Author was pitching her crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling to publishers
- She got rejections from Constable and Robinson and Creme de la Creme
- In one letter she was advised not to ‘give away the ending’ in her blurb
- Best-selling novelist said she posted letters on Twitter to ‘inspire’ others
Original article published at DailyMail.co.uk
JK Rowling has published rejection letters where publishing bosses suggest she go on a writing course and pop into a ‘helpful book shop’ for a novelist’s guide.
The best-selling author was pitching her first novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, under her Robert Galbraith pseudonym when she got the replies from Constable and Robinson and Creme de la Creme publishers.
The Cuckoo’s Calling, a post-war detective novel, went on to be a number one bestseller, and in order to inspire other writers the Harry Potter author has posted the letters on Twitter.
Rowling had chosen to write under a different name in order to publish without hype or expectation, after the phenomenal success she enjoyed with her magical Harry Potter series.
In the letter from British house, Constable and Robinson an executive tells the author that the company could not take the novel on due to its expectation that it would be a commercial flop.
The correspondence then outlays an almost step-by-step guide on how she could work to achieve success in the future.
In perhaps the most amusing part of the letter the publisher advises the writer to get advice from a magazine writing guide and not to give away the ending of her book in the summary.
It reads: ‘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.
‘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.’
The letter then goes on to offer tips that could send the writer in the right direction, including making sure it is clear what genre the book is and suggesting she goes on a course.
It says: ‘The covering letter should state as precisely as you can the category/genre of fiction you are submitting.‘
Adding: ‘Owing to pressure of submission, I regret we cannot reply individually or provide constructive criticism (a writers’ group/writing course may help with the latter).’
The second letter from crime publishers, Creme de la Crime shows a much shorter response simply stating the firm does not wish to accept new submissions.
Both companies are no doubt kicking themselves now as the novel went on to top Amazon’s best selling list and received critical claim, with plans in the pipeline for a TV series.
The second letter from crime publishers, Creme de la Crime shows a much shorter response simply stating the firm does not wish to accept new submissions
However, it was not an initial hit. It sold only 1,500 copies and was languishing at 4,709 in Amazon’s bestsellers list, after it first hit the shelves in July 2013.
Sales rocketed after Rowling was revealed as the novel’s author by Jude Callegari, a lawyer at a firm that represents her, via a message posted on Twitter, much to the author’s dismay.
Rowling said she posted the letters after aspiring writers asked her how she dealt with rejection from publishers.
She tweeted: ‘A publisher who turned down Harry Potter also sent R Galbraith his rudest rejection (by email)!’
Although Rowling identified the publishers she blurred out the names of the staff who rejected her.
Rowling said she was publishing the letters ‘by popular request’ and ‘for inspiration not revenge’.
A fan responded: ‘They should just give up publishing at this point.’
Another wrote: ‘I bet he knows that he’s the stupidest person to live.’