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JK Rowling turns 50

July 31, 2015 - UNITED KINGDOM

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling turns 50 without her crown as the world's richest author but still on lists of the fabulously wealthy.

In 2014 she had dropped to eight place, but from all accounts she will be able to collect enough money from the epic fantasy novels that she will never need another book idea. In its United Kingdom Rich List in Apr 2014, The Sunday Times credits the British author with of one of the most popular book and film franchises in history.

Britain's Telegraph newspaper remarks that Rowling was the first person to become a billionaire from writing novels.

Her first adult book, The Casual Vacancy, published in Sep 2012, is reported to have given her a UK £3 million (US $4.75 million) advance. The dark comedy about a small-town election subsequently became a BBC mini-series. She has also published two crime novels under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

The magazine notes that Rowling gains a chunk of her US $13 million earnings through her Pottermore website from which she exclusively distributes Harry Potter e-books. She held onto e-book rights rather than sign them over to her publishers and pockets the vast majority of every copy's sale price. She is the only author to have negotiated such a favorable deal, the magazine said.

The Harry Potter brand has been estimated to be worth as much as US $15 billion. In Aug 2014, Biography.com described Rowling as Britain's 13th wealthiest woman--wealthier than even Queen Elizabeth II. She does not plan to write any more books in the series, according to the biography, but hasn't ruled out the possibility.

Joanne Kathleen Rowling wrote the first Potter book while a single mother living on welfare. It was rejected by 12 publishers before it was accepted. Her first advance on royalties was UK £1,500 (US $2,379).

J.K. Rowling (BIO)

Forbes list: JK Rowling fortune under vanishing spell (Telegraph 7 Mar 2012)

US author takes Rowling's rich-list crown (22 Aug 2010)

World richest authors list joined by Veronica Roth, Gillian Flynn and John Green (Guardian 9 Sep 2014)

#84 J.K. Rowling (Forbes 2014)

Date written/update: 2015-06-20