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Can First Time Authors Become Successful – Really?

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Gold-plated Royal Quiet Deluxe Portable Typewriter as used by Ian Fleming to write is first published novel in 1952, Casino Royal

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

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Preserving the Inspiration and Passion of Creators

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Preserving the Inspiration and Passion of Creators – we understand how driven authors are to write books that excite and inspire us. All publishers do. However, the traditional publishing house view of deciding which author’s creations make it to press is based entirely upon their perception of return on investment.  They are very good at this and there is nothing wrong with making a profit.

“We consider on-demand and self-publishing to be the purest form of creativity for an author. Sure, you’ll get some dogs with punctuation errors and syntax won’t always be perfect – but you’ll also get the book the author wrote – not the one the editor and the marketing heads rewrote.”  ~ StarWand Publishing

Traditional publishing, for almost 3oo years, has relied on someone making an investment decision on a manuscript – whether or not they would be willing to invest a considerable sum of money to print, display and market an author’s book, for which they hope to receive a profit in return. They determine what they think the market wants to pay for, through market research and their experience over many years spent in the business of publishing books. Because authors have needed publishers to spend money to get their book printed and distributed to bookstores, they have been forced to submit to the publisher’s view of what their work should become in order to best meet market demand.

Many would agree, that publishers employ talented people to help shape an author’s manuscript into a market leader and that obtaining this final product exceeds the author’s expertise in creative editing, cover design, marketing and distribution. However, there is also a fair bit of destruction to the author’s original work as a necessary part of this process. Does it become a better work, or remain as true to the author’s original creation? That’s hard to say. If it sells, everyone is pretty happy about that. Maybe it doesn’t matter in the long run. But we do find that what the public ultimately receives in books, movies and music tends to fall into familiar patterns of sequelized success. Originality is embraced, so long as it fits within the established precedent of past winners.

On-demand and digital publishing/distribution has changed everything by lowering the threshold of access to customers and removing the barrier of cost for these same services. Now, authors can reach their buyers directly and preserve the fidelity of their original work.

Is it better for customers to gain access to the unvarnished manuscript? Not always. But, in this new era of digital distribution, at least the customer gets to decide that – not just the publisher.  ~ StarWand Publishing