In the literary world, we often hear of authors who have achieved great success with their debut novels. However, the road to success is not always smooth, and many famous authors had to face rejection and disappointment before making it big. In fact, some of the most revered writers of all time had their first books go largely unnoticed or were even considered flops. This Article will delve into the works of such Famous Authors Whose First Book Was A Flop and explore their struggles in the early stages of their careers. By examining their experiences, we can gain valuable insights into the process of writing and the journey to success.
Famous Authors Whose First Book Was A Flop
John Grisham (A Time To Kill)
John Grisham’s dedication and persistence as a writer is evident in his early career struggles. He would arrive at his office at an incredibly early hour of 5:00 am, six days a week, just to work on his first book, A Time to Kill. Despite his best efforts, his manuscript was rejected by a staggering 28 publishers before he finally found an unknown publisher who was willing to take a chance on him and print a short run of his book.
Despite not having the backing of a major publisher’s marketing apparatus, Grisham refused to give up on his dream of becoming a successful author. He took matters into his own hands and went directly to booksellers, encouraging them to stock his book. Even though A Time to Kill only sold a disappointing 5,000 copies, Grisham was undeterred and had already started working on his next novel, The Firm.
Grisham’s tireless work ethic and determination paid off, as The Firm quickly became a bestseller, launching him into literary stardom. Today, Grisham is one of the most successful authors of all time, with over 300 million books sold worldwide, and many of his works have been adapted into successful movies and TV series.
Dr. Seuss (And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street)
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was Dr. Seuss’s first published children’s book, which he wrote and illustrated himself. The book tells the story of a boy named Marco who sees increasingly fantastic sights on his walk home from school and decides to embellish them to make them even more exciting. While the book received positive reviews, it did not sell particularly well.
Horton Hatches the Egg, published in 1940, was the first of many best-selling books by Dr. Seuss. The book tells the story of an elephant named Horton who agrees to sit on an egg in order to hatch it for an unreliable bird named Mayzie. The book explores themes of responsibility, perseverance, and the importance of keeping one’s word.
However, it was the 1957 book The Cat in the Hat that made Dr. Seuss a household name. The book, which was written in response to a challenge to create an entertaining book using only 220 different words, tells the story of a mischievous cat who turns a rainy day into an adventure for two bored children. The book was an instant success and has since become a classic of children’s literature.
Dan Brown (187 Men to Avoid)
After graduating from Amherst College, Dan Brown moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. He spent several years playing in local bands and trying to make it as a songwriter, but ultimately found little success in the music industry.
In 1990, Brown wrote his first book, 187 Men to Avoid: A Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman. The book, which was a humorous guide to dating and relationships, was inspired by Brown’s own experiences and those of his female friends. The book was not a commercial success upon its initial release, but it has since become a cult favorite among fans of Brown’s work.
After the publication of 187 Men to Avoid, Brown continued to write and publish books in various genres, including thrillers and suspense novels. His breakthrough novel was the 2003 bestseller The Da Vinci Code, which follows the character Robert Langdon as he uncovers a conspiracy involving the Catholic Church and the Holy Grail. The book became a cultural phenomenon and has since been adapted into a successful movie and video game franchise.
Brown’s other works include Angels & Demons, The Lost Symbol, and Inferno, all of which have been bestsellers and have cemented his place as one of the most popular and successful authors of the 21st century.
Jack Kerouac (The Town and the City)
“The Town and the City” was Jack Kerouac’s first published novel, which he wrote over a period of several years. The novel tells the story of the Martin family, who live in a fictionalized version of Lowell, Massachusetts, where Kerouac grew up. The book reflects Kerouac’s own experiences and relationships, including his father’s death, his time at Columbia University, and his relationship with his girlfriend, Edie Parker.
The novel was well-received critically, with some reviewers praising its lyrical prose and its exploration of themes such as family, identity, and the search for meaning. However, it did not sell well initially, with only 1,500 copies sold in the first year of publication. The book’s lack of commercial success led Kerouac to focus on writing more experimental works, such as “On the Road,” which would eventually become his most famous novel.
Alice Walker (The Third Life of Grange Copeland)
Alice Walker’s debut novel, “The Third Life of Grange Copeland,” was published in 1970. The book tells the story of Grange Copeland, a sharecropper’s son who escapes his abusive father, only to perpetuate the cycle of violence in his own relationships. The novel explores themes of racism, poverty, and domestic violence, and is considered a powerful early example of African American feminist literature.
Despite the critical acclaim that Walker would later receive for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Color Purple,” “The Third Life of Grange Copeland” had a lukewarm reception upon its initial publication. Some reviewers praised the book for its powerful portrayal of the African American experience, while others criticized its bleak tone and unrelenting depiction of violence. The book’s sales were also disappointing, and it did not achieve the same level of commercial success as Walker’s later works.
Ernest Hemingway (The Torrents of Spring)
Ernest Hemingway’s first novel, “The Torrents of Spring,” was published in 1926 by Boni & Liveright publishers. The novel was a parody of Sherwood Anderson’s novel “Dark Laughter” and was meant to satirize the literary world of the time. Hemingway wrote the book in just six weeks, while on a trip to France with his wife Hadley.
However, the novel was met with negative reviews and poor sales. Many critics felt that the book was too derivative of Anderson’s work and lacked Hemingway’s unique voice and style. In addition, some readers found the book confusing and difficult to follow.
Despite the disappointing reception of “The Torrents of Spring,” Hemingway went on to achieve great success as a writer with his subsequent novels, including “The Sun Also Rises,” “A Farewell to Arms,” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Hemingway later disowned “The Torrents of Spring” and refused to allow it to be reprinted during his lifetime.
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