The problem with wanting to be an author is the bombardment of the same negative message from everyone (teachers, agents, publishers, strangers) that this dream is nigh impossible. The repeated warning goes something like this: anyone foolish enough to want to be an author needs thick skin, perseverance, and phenomenal writing talent (in that order), and even then, it’s luck of the lottery more times than not. I finished my first novel in 2008, when the economy crashed, and the doom messages for writers wanting to be published multiplied overnight. Publishing houses were closing their doors, editors were being fired, and the agents were warning first-time authors away, saying publishing houses weren’t taking chances on the untried.
My dream of becoming a published author was already stifled under the industry’s status quo “you will fail, give up now” message; hearing that my chances had slimmed even further was depressing. I desperately wanted inspiration. I wanted to prove (to myself and the naysayers) that first-time authors were getting published. To do that, I needed to find these authors, and I wanted to hear their positive stories of how they became published. Thus, Number One Novels was born.
My first interview went live the second week of 2009. Since then, Number One Novels has interviewed 100 debut authors and more are lining up in the wings. From New York Times bestselling debut authors of fantasy, like Peter V. Brett and Gail Carriger, to prolific romance authors, like Tessa Dare and Christy Reece (both who already have six books on the shelves though they both debuted in 2009), to stand-alone fiction novelists, like Beth Hoffman and Stacey McGlynn, suddenly there were successful debut authors everywhere.
The best part is that every author had taken a different path to publishing. Some struggled for years, persevering through piles of rejections and revising their manuscripts until receiving the exciting news that it sold (just like all the blogs I’d been reading predicted), like fantasy writer Kelly Meding and YA author Jennifer R. Hubbard; some practically had their manuscripts snatched out of their hands by publishers, like mystery writer Rebecca Cantrell and fiction writer Jamie Ford; and some were published after winning a contest, like mystery writers Meredith Cole and Douglas Corleone.
Along the way, I realized this blog served a completely different purpose: It highlighted up-and-coming authors for voracious readers the world over. Here was a whole slew of brand-new authors to line our bookshelves, ready to become the next must-read author on everyone’s lists. I wanted to help put these novels in the hands of these readers, too, and Number One Novels began running contests in April 2009. Since then, Number One Novels has given away 99 novels!
The blessing in disguise, though, was the opportunity to meet all these wonderful people and discover that they are, well, ordinary people. They are not gods come to life, gracing the fictional world with their words. They are people, like me, like you, like anyone out there with a story inside them they want to tell and everyone out there who doesn’t yet know they yearn to read that exact story. They are people with children, jobs, long commutes, and greedily coveted lunch hours. They work late into the night, get up at unholy hours in the morning, and squeeze seconds and minutes out of their lives to write. And they succeeded. They’re published authors. They’re the inspiration I was looking for.
Each week, there’s a new author interview posted on Number One Novels about a debut fiction novel (Number One Novels includes interviews with adult and YA fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, and romance writers), virtually every week includes the chance to win a copy of these novels, and every week is guaranteed to offer some hope and inspiration to aspiring authors and add a new name to your must-read author list. Check out the latest interview at numberonenovels.blogspot.com.
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