Complaints are rising that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has changed. Some say Rowling isn't the same as she was when she was a penniless single mother, writing the first Harry Potter manuscript on a manual typewriter and collecting rejection slips before finding a publisher.
She's said to be controlling, if not difficult, with her Harry Potter empire. Rowling, for instance, has taken heat for severing her professional relationship with the literary agent who discovered her, Christopher Little. And weeks before, she said she would publish her Harry Potter works as eBooks herself, effectively leaving the publishing world that created both she and Harry Potter behind.
Little was notified that Rowling would no longer be using his services in a dismissal letter written and sent by Little's business partner and company lawyer Neil Blair, who told Little he was leaving their firm and taking Rowling with him as a client. News of his dismissal is said to have devastated Little, who discovered Rowling and got her first publishing contract for the Harry Potter after she was broke from writing and getting nothing but rejection slips in return.
Rowling similarly stunned the literary world when she announced she was finally releasing Harry Potter books in digital eBooks form, but that she was doing so through her own Website, newly-created Pottermore. The move was a jolt to the publishing establishment that launched Rowling to riches and fame by selling and promoting her works because, in acting as the publisher and distributor for her Harry Potter works, she cut out e-retailers like Amazon from the process and relegated her U.S. publisher, Scholastic into receiving royalties from her from eBook sales.
There's no question Rowling has changed, in the 16 years since Little sold her first Harry Potter book to Bloomsbury for an advance of less than $10,000 for Rowling, then a broke 29-year-old penniless single mother. Soon, however, the Harry Potter series became one of the bestselling books and film properties in the world, making Rowling a billionaire.
That's billionare, with a B. And that's why the 44-year-old Rowling has changed, flying around the world in a private jet, wearing designer dresses, running her Harry Potter empire with a firm hand, and evolving how it's all been done. She doesn't need the same people she did before, fair or not.
Then, she was a penniless single mother. Now, she's a billionaire superstar, who's more than a writer. She's the CEO of a big company -- Harry Potter.
Now that the last Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has been released in film, some think she's become difficult with them as well, refusing to write more of what they want and love -- Harry Potter. Rowling said this week in interviews that she could write several more Harry Potter installments, if she wanted to. She did not rule it out, but said she was not inclined to do more Harry Potter books.
Never say never, though. The musical group The Who retired, after all, but came back for a reunion tour. Many other celebrities have followed the same path, saying they won't do more but coming back for more. Even Rowling said this week she is actively writing lots more material. She just did not disclose what it is.
But as for changing, firing her agent and leaving traditional publishing behind, and jettisoning around the world. J.K. Rowling has changed. Simple as that. She's changed, considerably.
That's what a billion dollars and ownership of the Harry Potter franchise does to a person. Before, J.K. Rowling dreamed of a million dollars. Now, she has a billion dollars.
She may be the same J.K. Rowling she was when she was penniless and writing Harry Potter on a manual typewriter, but now she can not only afford a computer, she can afford and entire computer company. And, she can afford to change agents, dis publishing, and buy any dress, or friends, or most anything she wants.
It's almost unavoidable to be any other way, since money and fame in blockbuster doses does change people. They're not the same, and they never will be again. J.K. Rowling is no exception.