First time authors, or, debut authors as they are usually referred to, can become wildly successful in fact. When Ian Fleming sat down to write the first book of what would become the “007” series of books based on James Bond, his fictional spy character, he couldn’t have known he was launching a multi-billion dollar franchise. Nor could a divorced and single mom, J.K. Rowling, probably imagine she was embarking on a life changing journey when she penned her first Harry Potter book. It goes without saying, there are many debut author failures as well. But every successful author started with their first published book and built upon it’s success.
Mega-successful authors will tell you they’ve become better writers over time and while sequel success is the envy of every aspiring author, often as not, their favorite book was their first one. That was their labor of love. For readers, they too receive their greatest thrill when discovering a new work by an unknown and first-time published author. It’s like finding an Easter Egg. Of course we all love to buy our favorite author’s next bestseller when it’s hot off the press, but serial publication authors can lose their edge over time, especially when their craft turns from quality titles to quantity. So, the quest for talented and hungry new authors continues to drive the publishing industry today.
Famous debut authors have inspired other authors to brave writing that great American novel of theirs. Some have changed our world with a single manuscript that found it’s way into the right hands. Now, with the advent of on-demand and self-publishing, there is no longer a barrier to entry for aspiring new authors. They can finish their manuscript and publish it within minutes. Getting published is the easy part, but standing above the crowd of millions of other new titles, so that readers can find them, is growing even more difficult. That is the still a fundamental role of a good publisher – getting their author’s titles visibility among the masses of new titles hitting the market every day.
But, no matter how the publishing industry evolves over the years to come, it all starts with an author burning with a passion to write, somewhere, sitting down by themselves and hammering out that first manuscript. If you are that author, reading this and wondering if you should persevere and will it all pay off for you someday, the answer is – it very well could. Why not and why not you?
Here are a few inspiring examples of other authors you may recognize who did just that.
A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey, 1962
Carrie, Stephen King, 1974
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, 1979
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, 1997
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini, 2003