I don't know Twilight's story, but you're right about Joanne's story. (J.K. Rowling.) It was a big chance to publish the first book, so only 1000 copies. Half went to libraries. One went to a Hollywood production office and laid in a pile of books to check out by some assistant/secretary... someone related to the producer. She didn't think much of it, so gave it to her 10 year old to read. (Can't remember if the 10 y.o. was a boy or girl.) Guess the reaction of the kid. You got it. He/she got so excited, that Mom had to check it out. Same thing happened in the libraries across the UK. Kid's word-of-mouth got adults checking out the story closer.
It really is a great story. It's got everything any kid or any adult wants from a good novel. Better yet - a SERIES! It just doesn't get better than that. Hollywood got interested, reporters found out it was coming on film - probably noticing that because their kids wanted to know - and the rest is history.
Personally, if I were in charge of a YA publisher's slush pile, I'd glance through to see what my kids might like and then pawn those choices off to the kids. If the kid throws it out, it's worth throwing out. If not, chances are good it's something.
Kid's books are the stuff of legends. Get a kid interested in a book, and the world beats a path to that book. Kids aren't often interested in adult books, but adults can get interested in kid's books. Think about it - the most profitable movies of the last 20-30 years were all for kids.
Added after reading other responses:
Ah, bummer. I hoped someone knew Twilight's story. Instead others just gave what they felt, instead of answering from knowledge.
I'm writing my first novel. It's the first of a seven novel MG (middle grade) urban fantasy, so I've studied the important stuff to brace myself for this path. I'm writing a series, because I admire Joann's series. She taught me how to write something kids will like, although my story has nothing to do with what she did other than we both start with characters in the MG range (8-12 years old.) To prepare for the assumed rejections when I first query for publications, I've researched what other famous authors went through. These are things I remember:
- Stephen King's first 4 novels were rejected completely. His fifth went something like Rowlings's - real iffy whether to accept it, (in his case the person who accepted it was laughed at by his colleagues), book end up in a Hollywood type hand and they decided to make it into a movie. The book was "Carrie."
- Beatrix Potter gave up trying to get her story published, so self-published. After that book (The Tale of Peter Rabbit) became famous, a publisher convinced her to sign up.
- The record for the most rejections for a book that became a classic is 114 times. (Can't remember which book that was, but it was over 100 years ago.)
- Herman Melville died broke and laughed at for his crappy book, because it became a classic - Moby Dick.
I learned Rowling's story to brace for my future. She was rejected less than a dozen times, before someone got brave. Getting published is hard work with a need to check ego at the door and the knowledge we can't give up. What became of her happened simply because her book was at the right place at the right moment. That's my goal - work hard and then work at getting it noticed. lol
· 7 years ago