Thursday, July 03, 2008

Will your first novel be published?

I think it's a common assumption among new writers that all they have to do to be published is write a great first book, send it out, and voila! A publisher will pick them right up. Unfortunately, that's not how it usually goes.

A novelist friend of mine sent me a link to a fascinating piece about how many novelists actually sell the first novels they write (thanks, Sibella!). It's worth a look. Check it out here.

Apparently it's a common phenomenon for an author to not become published in book form until they've gotten into the swing of things, sometimes with their third or fourth written books.

This was true for Ted Dekker. He mention in an interview I did with him awhile back that it was his fourth book that was published first. Later, after he was established, he went on to publish his first written works (I believe Showdown was the first novel he wrote). You can read that interview here.

I've been thinking about this subject a lot lately as I contemplate sending my second novel out into the big world of publishing. It's a much stronger book, I think, than my first. And I wouldn't mind if it was my first published work. :)

All in all, this is a fascinating subject. I'd be interested in how this trend of novelists publishing later works first plays out in the CBA market. Maybe I'll do my own survey!

Have a great 4th holiday, friends. And leave me a comment if you're so inclined. I love hearing from you.


Ed J. Horton said...

Hi C.J.,

I'm going to leave a comment, although I don't have a novel publishing record to help you in determining trends.

I've self-published two children's books and written a couple of others. In the past two years, I've switched to writing grown-up books (I'd say adult books, but don't wanna give the wrong connotation). I'm working on my third novel and the first two still haven't been published. The first, a cozy mystery, is currently a finalist in a contest. I've entered the second, a murder thriller, in two contests and it hasn't placed. However, some of the judging feedback has really helped me revise it. I believe my writing is becoming stronger with each new writing attempt, and with each re-write of an existing manuscript.

I won't even put myself in a league with Dekker, up and comer Mike Dellosso, or many other talented CBA authors. But, bottom line, I keep on writing, believing my publishing day will come.

By the way, I hope your second novel is the one for you! :)

Nicole said...

No publisher of today would've touched my first one because of its size for one thing. And it reads like a first effort. The paths for individual writers can be so varied, so unique. I know I was supposed to self-publish it and use it for ministry.

The second one (The Famous One) ended up going the same route as far as self-publishing, but it's a much more tightly written story, and I'm happy to say it's getting a lot of good feedback.

The more stories you put into novel form, the more you know what you must do--and not just for publication but for the understanding of who God designed you to be and the satisfaction that you've told the story you were given to tell.

Have a great 4th, C.J.

Rel said...

Hey CJ :) Just a visit to say hi! My middle girl celebrated her 8th birthday on the 4th of July (yesterday here) so it is a special day for us too!