Sunday, March 07, 2010

First Time Novelists Can Make It Big

I read an interesting piece in John Kremer’s marketing newsletter about the number of authors who’ve sold their first books to major publishers. Some on the list sold their first books decades ago, but I’m sure they had as many hurdles as we do today. Here’s a partial list of successful first-time novels. Notice how many of them have been made into movies.

The Mystery Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Gone with the Wind by Margaet Mitchell
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (one of my favourites)
Snow Fall on Cedars by David Guterson
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Well
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
The Rule of Four by Dustin Thomason

According to the newsletter, author Kim Edwards’ first novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter sold 55,000 hardcover copies and over 2.5 million in trade paperback. Because it was #1 on USA Today’s bestseller’s list, it was also chosen as Book of the Year for 2006. Wow!

Canadian author Terry Fallis published his humorous novel through print-on-demand. It sold lots of copies and he won Canada’s Stephen Leacock Medal for literary humour in 2008. You see, it is possible!

And here’s a tidbit of interesting info: Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl was rejected by 15 publishers before it was picked up by Doubleday in 1952. The book has sold more than 30 million print copies.

To read Kremer’s entire article go to

FATAL ENCRYPTION can be purchased at
TAXED TO DEATH can be purchased at

1 comment:

Julie H. Ferguson said...

Both The Memory Keeper's Daughter and Snow Falling on Cedars were novels that clutched my heart when I read them. So good, I read them again.
I wonder how many rejections the authors received before the offer with a contract arrived.

Thanks for the encouragement, Debra!