In 1993 Joanne Rowling, also known as J.K. Rowling, was a single mother and, as she puts it, as "poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless".
She was living in Scotland with her daughter after leaving her abusive husband behind in Portugal. She completed the first 'Harry Potter' novel while living off state benefits.
In 1995 she submitted the book to 12 publishing houses and it was rejected by all of them!
In 1996 it was accepted for publishing by Bloomsbury publishing house mainly because the chairman's eight-year-old daughter liked it. They kindly suggested that Rowling should consider getting a day job because they thought it would be unlikely that she would make a living from her writing.
But boy, were they wrong! In 2004 Forbes named her the first person ever to become a US$ billionaire from writing books. Rowling refuted this and said she did have quite a lot of money, but was not a billionaire.
She was removed from the list in 2012 because, said Forbes, her US$160 million in charitable donations and the high tax rate in the UK meant she was no longer a billionaire.
Harry Potter is now a global brand worth an estimated US$15 billion and the last book of the series (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) has set the record for the fastest selling book of all times.