In a recent interview with James Patterson in Time magazine, Patterson answered questions from readers regarding his writing process, style and publishing.
One of the most interesting answers he gave involved his start as a writer. To quote Patterson,
“I worked my way through college. I had a lot of night shifts, so I started reading like crazy. Then I started writing. And I found that I loved it. When I was 26, I wrote my first mystery, The Thomas Berryman Number, and it was turned down by, I don’t know, 31 publishers. Then it won an Edgar for Best First Novel. Go figure.”
Turned down by 31 publishers. Can you imagine? But like any artist who believes in his work, Patterson was persistent. And he was right. He had something to say. A story to tell. A story readers wanted to hear. Books people wanted to buy.
Patterson is a great example why we need indie book publishing. Instead of waiting for rejection letters, he could have made his books available to readers. Instead of wondering if people would like his stories, he could know. Now that doesn’t mean traditional publishers usually make this type of mistake, but the point is, readers will ultimately decide if an author is any good or not. So let’s hope the next James Patterson isn’t waiting till the rejection letters pile up.