Author JK Rowling (of Harry Potter fame) wrote a book called The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pen name Robert Galbraith. It was rejected by multiple publishers because “he” was a nobody. The publishers had no idea Galbraith was simply JK Rowling’s alter ego.
One publisher told “him” the book couldn’t have commercial success and they also suggested “he” take a writing course to improve his skills. It was eventually published by another company. Three months after it was published Rowling was outed as the author.
I want to deconstruct this for you because we are all in this story and it has everything to do with your own work.
Why did she use a pseudonym (pen name)?
She simply used it as a creative outlet very different from her “day job” as the Harry Potter author.
But why try to get it published under a pen name of an unknown person?
To prove the points that:
- Even industry experts don’t know a damn thing about talent. Heck, Rowling’s original Harry Potter manuscript got rejected over a dozen times.
- And most don’t care about you unless you’re already famous.
Now, what this has to do with you:
EVERYTHING. Seriously, in whatever field you work, you will face a TON of rejection. It’s a reality of life. We all face way more rejection than success. Trust me I speak from experience.
Rejection isn’t a reason to give up. It’s fuel for the fire.
I was rejected by 50 literary agents (twice) many of whom said there was no market for my book Seeds of Success. Then it won 3 awards then it was picked up by a publisher.
Work for yourself, not for anyone else’s approval. Remember why you started. It doesn’t matter what the gatekeepers or critics say. It doesn’t matter what your friends say either.
I write for myself, a lot of the time because it’s what I need to hear. And I know I can’t be the only one who needs to hear it.
By the way Rowling isn’t the only one who has an alter ego. I also write under the name Morgan Randall. It’s a comedic outlet for me. “He” just release a pair of new books here, don’t let them fool you though. While it appears to be geared towards coaches, there’s a treasure trove of travel and productivity hacks as well as priceless life wisdom only he could dispense. Get your copies here: