News Feed Forums All about writing Success Stories

  • Success Stories

    Posted by dannyboyd on 14 February 2020 at 12:42

    For those of us still hoping and struggling to get a story published, I think it would be good to hear from those who have made it onto a bookshelf somewhere and how they went about it. From the struggle to find an agent, and what happened after they got a agent or if they self published and sold a shed load of books, to perhaps those, who instead, have a load of unsold books in their shed!

    I think this would help inspire the rest of us still hoping for that big break, (or little break even.)

    jill-lever Lever replied 3 years, 12 months ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Holly Jericho

    18 February 2020 at 11:15

    Hi Danny, I agree! Would you like to read these as blog posts perhaps, or more as general discussions on the forum? 

  • dannyboyd

    18 February 2020 at 15:59

    Either or both – there is so much to learn from those who have gone before I feel.

  • jill-lever Lever

    26 February 2020 at 05:55

     Hi Danny, 

    This is my story.  It’s a bit quirky but I hope encouraging.

    I was working sporadically on a children’s novel but got stuck.  I decided to attended a short course which included one Saturday morning session on picture books.  I had to scramble for an idea and, inspired by a drawing my son had once done, I came up with “The Worm Who Knew Karate” complete with bad drawings. My fellow students were amused – I thought of it as just an exercise.

    The following week a student asked about the story which was at that point screwed up in the bottom of my bag! It turned out she was an editor at Penguin.  Within a week they had engaged a famous illustrator, Terry Denton,  and had agreement to publish so went straight to offering a contract and a A$3000 advance.  I had to Google to get tips about author contracts – the one thing I asked was that the international rights would revert to me if unsold after 5 years.  They offered me 5% of the sale price (the very famous artist got the same as the novice author!) Since publication in 2015 it has sold 13,000 copies in hardback and softback which is good in the Australia/NZ market and has been translated into Korean.  It was one of the picks for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Australia. I hasn’t earned me 5% because many copies are sold below RRP but I guess around $7000.  

    My publisher retired, my editor resigned and Terry decided not to work other than with his long-time author-collaborator and on his own projects. I moved countries and Penguin wasn’t interested in an author living overseas who was not readily available for marketing. I got distracted by studying and other projects.  I have kept on writing but hate sending stories out to agents and publishers. I don’t necessarily have the strength of character for multiple rejections.  The original children’s novel got very near acceptance by a publisher in Ireland where I now live but didn’t quite make it. I still don’t have an agent. To some extent I think my writing ambitions were satisfied by seeing that one title in bookshops and reading the lovely reviews. It gives me a lot of pleasure to think of my story being read in libraries, schools and at thousands of bedtimes. 

     I’ve joined Jericho Writers to give myself another push an test whether I am really willing to put in the post-writing effort.

    Good luck with your own work. 

    PS – I was a first-time published author at 59 so as an aside to those Jericho Writers who are my peers, it’s never too late to try.