The publishing industry is fickle. Like fashion, it fluctuates according to the perceived market. What was in vogue yesterday may well be a no go area tomorrow.
So, how do first time authors get published? We are at the mercy of the massive, multi-billion dollar publishing industry; we are faced with the juggernaut of e-books and self-publishing which is proving very popular; we have to first get through the publishing house gate-keepers – the Agents.
Well, take heart. Look at this brief and far from complete list of some of the biggest selling authors of all time. They suffered rejection, humiliation and despair, before finally breaking through and getting their first book into print.
Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, was rejected thirty times before finally getting published. He apparently threw the manuscript in the waste bin, but his wife extricated it and made him keep sending it out.
Margaret Mitchell received thirty-eight rejections for the classic Gone With the Wind.
James Joyce was not a good commercial bet with the publishers, receiving twenty-two rejections, and when he was finally taken on, they would only print 1250.
Australian author Matthew Reilly was so sick of being rejected that he opted for self-publishing. Apparently he talked book shop owners into putting his book in the front window alongside all the big names. Talk about making your own luck!
Other great authors such as John le Carré was told his first book was no good, and John Grisham’s A Time to Kill was rejected by twelve publishers and sixteen agents before being picked up.
So, I like Frank Sinatra’s idea. Don’t give up, and when you DO get published, be as successful as the above great authors. As the famous saying goes, Nolite te bastardes carborundorum – don’t let the bastards grind you down.