Name: Joanne Rowling.
Foolish small business idea: A skinny boy wearing large glasses, called Harry Potter. The character is an orphan who escapes to Hogswarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry, and becomes a hero.
Start-up Capital: A few pounds.
How small business idea was Launched: Through an agent. Two publishing houses rejected the book, before Bloomsbury accepted in 1996.
Sales: Worldwide. 1 book - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. More than 38 weeks as No.1 on the New York Times best-seller list.
2nd book - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
3rd book - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
30 Million books sold. America accounts for approximately 50 per cent of the sales. Translated into 28 languages.
Earnings: Royalties of around £11.5million in addition to advance payments of £2million for the second and third books. Now the 3rd, 4th and 5th books plus the phenomenally successful film make the likely earnings far higher, possibly approaching £50 million eventually.
Spin-offs: Film rights to the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Lightning-bolt 'tattoos' to stick onto the forehead (Harry Potter has identical scar).
Earnings from Spin-offs: £1million for the film rights.
Tattoos - unknown.
Divorced single mum, Joanne Rowling, was desperate to escape the freezing cold one-bedroom apartment in Edinburgh, where she was bringing up her daughter Jessica. In search of warmth, Joanne would go to the nearest café and order one cup of coffee, which had to last for hours because she was so broke. Her plight gave her the courage to follow through the small business idea of writing a mystical cliffhanger novel.
At 29 yrs old Joanne Rowling was on state benefit and thought the worst thing that could happen, would be if she was turned down by every publisher in the country. That inspired her to write, every day. In the mornings, Joanne would take Jessica to the park and walk around with her in the pushchair until she fell asleep, then she would head to the nearest café, and write for up to two hours while her daughter slept.
Once again in the evenings, as soon as Jessica was in bed, Joanne Rowling would write until she dropped. Although writing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was hard work it kept her sane. When the book was written, Joanne had another problem; she couldn't afford to buy a computer to type the manuscript. So, instead, she paid a few pounds for an old battered typewriter and typed it out. Next Joanne had to type out another copy, because she couldn't afford the photocopying costs.
She used the telephone directory to pick out two agents and posted the book to each one. She says it was her happiest moment when one of them agreed to represent her. The first book was published in Britain, June 1997. Harry Potter was a huge success quickly achieving soaring sales and popularity.
Joanne Rowling admits the whole venture has gone beyond her wildest expectations. Although the Potter series, are children's fantasy adventure stories they have also captivated an adult following. Just as J.R.R. Tolkien's, Lord of the Rings. The books are also being likened to such earlier classics as The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and The Narnia Chronicles. The magic of Harry Potter, in a fantasy world of witchcraft and wizardry looks set to becoming another classic hero. A character who has, through just 3 adventures, made its creator £50million.
p.s. Joanne Rowling is now the highest paid woman in the U.K., even beating Madonna! Jan04