J.K. Rowling, also known as Robert Galbraith (pseudonym), is a British novelist, film and television producer, screenwriter and philanthropist, best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series.
Her books have sold over 400 million copies, won countless awards, and most notably the Harry Potter series has become the best selling book series in history.
Regardless of her gargantuan success, her rise to the limelight proved to be anything but facile. On July 31, 1965 Rowling was born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England. She was working as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International when she conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series while on a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990.
The seven-year period that followed saw the death of her mother, birth of her first child, divorce from her first husband and relative poverty until the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published in 1997.
Due to the release of her first of the Harry Potter series she progressed from living on state benefits to multi-millionaire status within five years. She is the United Kingdom’s best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238M.
So how much is J.K. Rowling worth today?
J.K. Rowling’s Net Worth 2017: In the ballpark of $1 Billion
According to the New York Times:
A close look at Ms. Rowling’s sources of income suggests that she’s worth more than $1 billion, even allowing for a large margin of error.
To start with the obvious, there’s the source of her wealth: The seven Harry Potter books have sold an estimated 450 million copies, with estimated total revenue of $7.7 billion. At a standard 15 percent author’s royalty, she would have earned $1.15 billion. These books continue to sell strongly years after they were first published.
NBCUniversal also bought exclusive television rights to the eight Harry Potter films this summer in a deal valued at as much as $250 million. Ms. Rowling presumably received a large piece of that, at least $125 million. That replaced a deal with Disney estimated to have been worth $50 million or more to her.
That brings her total estimated earnings from books, movies, theme parks and television to more than $2.2 billion. Assuming that she paid Britain’s top individual tax rate of 45 percent, she would have been left with $1.2 billion.
Rowling is notoriously a very charitable individual.
In 2012, Forbes dropped J. K. Rowling after eight years on its authoritative billionaires list, saying high British taxes and large charitable contributions had eroded her fortune.
So depending on whether or not Rowling still has this monstrous price tag greater than $1 Billion due to the continuous paychecks raining in from merchandise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, etc, it doesn’t matter.
J.K. Rowling’s monetary worth doesn’t matter to those who see her as the icon for the artist, for people who treck down the often desolate road to live to see creative vision become tangible. To many, she is a testament to hope and faith in the artistic journey. She is one who has proven that there may be light at the end of this path if chosen to go down it.
She is also an inspiration for children on a global scale. To open the minds of children to a fantastical world manifested from imagination is vital, because one day her words will reach the eyes of a child, and her words, like a catalyst, could spark an idea in that child’s mind, and that child could one day write the words, paint the picture, sing the song that influence the next generation, and so on.
In 1995, Rowling finished her manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on an old manual typewriter.
The book was submitted to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected the manuscript. A year later she was finally given the green light (and a £1,500 advance) by editor Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London.
The decision to publish Rowling’s book owes much to Alice Newton, the eight-year-old daughter of Bloomsbury’s chairman, who was given the first chapter to review by her father and immediately demanded the next. Although Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book, Cunningham says that he advised Rowling to get a day job, since she had little chance of making money in children’s books (oh, the irony). Soon after, in 1997, Rowling received an £8,000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council to enable her to continue writing.
From there on she was able to write Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; all of which were adapted into film.
December 4, 2008 Rowling released a supplement to the Harry Potter series with The Tales of Beetle the Bard. Most notably during this time was Rowling’s outed as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil. These stories were written under the name Robert Galbraith, but her writing style was so well-known that the public inevitably found out and sales and acclaim for these books were high and praised.
J.K. Rowling released Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in 2016, which is a bit off from the conventional prose story-telling methods the series had previously had. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a collaborative effort with Jack Thorne and was released as a play. Duing this time she also released Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which was released as a film script.
“Robert Galbraith” has an upcoming book that all of J.K. Rowling’s fans should be looking forward to called Lethal White.