The story of J.K. Rowling is well known. It’s a rag-to-riches story of a young mother struggling to raise her child while living on government assistance. But in its own way, it was a fantasy that came true for this incredibly dedicated author.
With creation of Pottermore, a free site for all things Harry Potter, Rowling adds another significant offering for her fans. After millions of dollars in sales, volumes of books, and endless merchandising from her successful movie franchise Rowling has provided a simple place to engage her fantasy world of Harry Potter.
Pottermore is scheduled to open for business on 31 July 2011. It offers fans eBook and audio book versions of the seven Harry Potter novels. Along with this, new content will be available such as back stories and settings. Clearly she knows her fans and she understands what customers are willing to purchase.
Successful entrepreneurs are highly creative. But the critical success factors that brought Rowling to elite financial, social, and celebrity status are available to all of us.
Idea: Like any inventor, Rowling was inspired by an idea. On a delayed train ride from Manchester to London in 1990, she came up with the young boy and his school of wizardry. But she did not stop there. She kept writing and exploring the idea. It engrossed her and she let it permeate all her thoughts.
Perseverance: In her commencement speech at Harvard in 2008 she alludes to the fact that she had hit rock bottom. She had nothing left and the only way was up. Instead of giving up, she looked at rock bottom and made it the first rock of her new foundation. She had the strength and perseverance to keep going and keep fighting.
Dedication: In a television interview, after the release of one of her early books, Rowling showed the interviewer stacks and stacks of paper filled with notes and ideas regarding her recent release. Her willingness to work through all of the storylines, plot points, and conflicts is no different than any product manager needing to do the same while managing their products, regardless of industry. It takes special dedication to keep pushing the envelope and putting yourself out on a creative level for the entire world to judge. Her dedication gave her the confidence to do so.
Pottermore will release in July. There is no doubt that it will be a huge success. It will draw in old fans as well as new. It will provide for Rowling another vehicle to increase her financial status, but more importantly, share the story she conceived on a delayed commute. How many of us wished we came up with the same story while stuck in traffic?