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How J.K. Rowling Achieved a Net Worth of $1 Billion

JK Rowling

J.K. Rowling should be a familiar name for a lot of people out there. After all, she is the one who wrote the Harry Potter series, which were so successful that they managed to spawn a movie series plus a wide range of other merchandise. It is unclear what Rowling's net worth is, particularly since she has something of a reputation for secretiveness on this particular matter. However, the New York Times believes that Rowling has returned to being a billionaire after having been removed from Forbes's list of billionaires in 2012, though Rowling herself has outright stated that this isn't the case. Whatever the truth of the matter, the kind of figures that are being waved around speaks volumes about how much Rowling has made through the success of her books and related sources of revenue.

How Did J.K. Rowling Reach Her Current Net Worth?

The sheer success of the Harry Potter series means that Rowling's background is pretty well-known. However, it is nonetheless worth recapping here. In short, Rowling was born in South Gloucestershire to a science technician named Anne and an aircraft engineer named Peter. Unfortunately, she had a complicated home life when she was still a teenager. In part, this was because her mother had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which came as a huge shock because she had been a non-drinker and a non-smoker who had been in good physical condition. However, Rowling also had a strained relationship with her father, so much so that she still isn't on speaking terms with said individual.

Having said that, while Rowling's time as a teenager wasn't the best, she didn't manage to find solace in various things. For example, she was a big fan of rock music, as shown by how she was still sporting the black eyeliner plus the back-combed hair of Siouxsie Sioux when she headed to university. Likewise, it is interesting to note that Rowling was an admirer of the English author Jessica Mitford, who was one of the six Mitford sisters who were stars of the London social scene but managed to become even more famous because of their political split between communism and fascism. In Jessica's case, she became a member of the American Communist Party who worked in the Civil Rights Congress, though she winded up leaving the party like a lot of leftists in those times thanks to a sense of disillusionment with Stalinism. Finally, it should be mentioned that Rowling was determined to go to London so that she could get out of the place where she grew up. Something that has served as a source of inspiration for characters in her latter books.

In time, Rowling failed to make it into Oxford University and winded up going to the University of Exeter instead. Her path following graduation was not the smoothest, as shown by how she eventually winded up as a jobless single mother who described herself as being as "poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless." Some of her struggles in this period provided fuel for Rowling's writing. One excellent example would be how Rowling's struggle with clinical depression became the source of inspiration for the Dementors.

Eventually, Rowling completed a manuscript for what would become Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Said manuscript was rejected by no fewer than 12 publishing houses. However, Rowling was eventually able to secure a deal with Bloomsbury because the Bloomsbury chairman's daughter loved what she read of the first chapter and demanded more. Amusingly, while Rowling managed to get published in this manner, she was told that she should still find a day job because she had little chance of making money as a writer of children's books. Something that has proven to be rather erroneous in her case to say the least.

Over time, Rowling's books managed to build up more and more momentum. For proof, consider the fact that when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, it managed to sell an astonishing 11 million copies on its very first day of release. Naturally, that kind of enthusiasm translated into a similar momentum for the movies as well as the rest of the Harry Potter merchandise that was put out. In fact, it should be mentioned that said enthusiasm is still very much existent in the present day, as shown by how the Fantastic Beasts movies are a spinoff series set in the same setting as Harry Potter.

Rowling's net worth shot up thanks to her books. For a time, she was considered to be a billionaire by Forbes. However, the publication believed that she had lost that status thanks to high taxes in the United Kingdom as well as her own charitable contributions. Nowadays, there is renewed speculation that Rowling has managed to become a billionaire once more, though it is interesting to note that there are claims that the bulk of her revenues isn't coming from her books but rather related sources in the present time. After all, she is known to be someone who gets a percentage of the proceeds from the theme parks related to her franchise, which is but one example of the sources of revenue created by its sheer popularity. Other examples range from the TV rights for the Harry Potter movies to licensing fees for the play as well as whatever sum she received from giving the go-ahead for the Fantastic Beasts movies. On top of this, it is important to remember that Rowling has a lot of investments as well, meaning that it seems safe to say that she has earned a great deal through the long economic boom that might be coming to a close in the present time.

Further Considerations

It remains to be seen how Rowling's net worth will continue to change in the times to come. The Harry Potter franchise is still going strong even if it has faded from the heights of its popularity. As a result, it seems reasonable to speculate that Rowling's net worth will continue to see substantial increases for the foreseeable future.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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