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J.K. Rowling offers rejection letters as lesson in perseverence

When fans struggling with literary rejection reached out to J.K. Rowling on Twitter, the best-selling author responded with words of inspiration and examples of some of her own rejection letters.

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    'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling lights the Empire State Building to mark the launch of her non-profit children's organization Lumos, in New York, in April 2015.
    Evan Agostini/ Invision/ AP­/ File
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"Harry Potter" author and British multimillionaire J.K. Rowling has once again offered the world living proof that success depends more on determination than luck.

In response to a request from fans struggling with literary rejection, the author on Friday posted two rejection letters on Twitter for her recent detective series Cormoran Strike, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Ms. Rowling’s "Harry Potter" series had sold over 450 million copies worldwide. Her first stab at fiction for adults, the "Casual Vacancy," met mixed reviews from critics but was also highly anticipated.

The reveal all started when recently rejected author Dianne Brubaker mentioned Rowling in a tweet, citing the author’s success after rejection as reason to remain hopeful.

Ms. Brubaker was then gifted with the greatest hope of all, a Rowling response in the form of commiseration. Rowling tweeted back at Brubaker, telling Brubaker that she used her own first rejection letter as inspiration to keep writing.

Another Twitter user joined in, asking to see Rowling’s first Potter rejection. Rowling demurred, saying that her Harry Potter letters were in a box in the attic. Instead, she brought out two rejection letters for her recent series, Cormoran Strike.

Rowling told her fans on Twitter that the letters she posted today were just a sampling of the rejection letters she received. She even received a particularly rude one from the editor who wrote the worst Potter rejection, years ago.

“I wasn’t going to give up until every publisher turned me down,” tweeted Rowling, “but I often feared that would happen.”

Rowling is famous for her rags to riches rise to fame. She describes her struggling years as “as poor as you can possibly go in the UK without being homeless,” and has told reporters that she was on welfare for several years.

She is also well known for dispensing advice to aspiring writers. Last August when two young people reached out to her on Twitter saying they had trouble being taken seriously as a writer, she urged them to keep writing, no matter what others say.

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