We’ve often heard about our favourite authors’ overnight success with their debut novel. But what we often forget to mention while reciting their tales of success are the years hard work and dedication needed to achieve the success that appears to come overnight. In so many cases, years, if not decades, of effort and hard work led up to overnight success for the most famous authors out there.
These authors are an inspiration to those struggling to get their break, and to aspiring authors who have forgotten that after every night, a day rises. The longer and darker the night, the brighter the day.
1. J.K. Rowling
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J.K. Rowling’s story starts in Manchester. Waiting for a delayed train, she imagines the character of her first book, which, years later, would break many records. The death of her mother, six months after she began writing Harry Potter, effected her deeply. She moved to Portugal, hoping for a fresh start, but did not feel better there. She married a man named Jorge Arantes and had a child, but the rocky marriage lasted merely thirteen months.
She returned to England with her daughter, rendered penniless. She wrote in cafes with her daughter behind her in a pram. But her days of misery did not end when she finished her book. She faced much rejection before her manuscript was finally accepted by Bloomsbury. And merely three days after the novel was first published in the UK, Scholastic bid an exuberant amount of $100,000 for the American publishing rights. The long night ended on a bright day and today, she is the most recognized author in the world, with over 500 million copies of her work sold.
2. Veronica Roth
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On the face of things, Veronica Roth’s story begins and ends with the fact that she wrote her debut novel Divergent during her college break and became a bestselling author. But just as there is a day after every night, there is a night before every day. Roth’s story, in fact, begins way back when she was twelve-years-old. She was very focused on her craft. The instant success of her first book was actually the result of years of studying the art of creative writing and taking creative writing classes. Her initial manuscript was rejected and even after it was accepted, she had to rewrite major portions of the book.
3. Sarah J. Maas
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Maas began writing what was to become her debut bestselling novel, Throne of Glass, at the age of sixteen. Her initial story, titled Queen of Glass was based on Cinderella. Its premise was “What if Cinderella was not a servant, but an assassin? And what if she didn’t attend the ball to meet the prince, but to kill him, instead?” The first few chapters of her novel were posted on FictionPress.com where it was one of the most popular stories until she decided to remove them to from the site in order to publish it. She started sending out queries to agents in 2008 until she found one in 2009. Her book was finally purchased by Bloomsbury in 2010 and published in 2012. Her night was indeed very long and dark but the brightness of her day made up for it!
4. Stephen King
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King did a variety of odd jobs to support his family, who lived in a small trailer. He was a janitor, gas pump attendant, and worker at an industrial laundry. He wrote just two pages of his debut bestseller Carrie and threw it away in anger and disappointment as it wasn’t any ‘good’. Lucky for him, his wife picked it up and read it. She inspired her husband to continue writing as she wanted to know what happened next. But just finishing the novel didn’t deliver him from his long night. He was rejected by no less that thirty different publishers, but his wife encouraged him not to give up until he found one. It wasn’t long before he became King of Horror.
These are merely few examples. But they help us remind that after a night, however long and dark it may be, comes a brighter day (hopefully in the form of huge success!)
Featured Image Via Bustle