Writing books is one thing, writing best sellers is something else. That’s what millions of would-be literary successes are finding out for themselves. In this day and age of more and more technological advances practically anyone can turn out a book, no matter whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. The digital world has made major changes in the writing and publishing industry as e-readers have made major inroads into reading habits.
Obviously, I’m one of those giving this new approach a try, as evidenced by my thirteen e-books that are available pretty much everywhere around the globe. However, that’s not part of this particular story. Instead, I want to tell you about an individual who was a one-time light bulb vendor and a door-to-door book salesman. The latter may have helped trigger his creative ideas but one way or another he penned a best-seller when he was 39 years old.
It was the getting there that made a good story. This author was struggling and had finally gotten a job as a wholesaler for pencil sharpeners of all things. Sitting around waiting for his salesmen to report in gave him time to check ads for his product in the pulp fiction magazines that were all the rage. He read a lot of the stories while he was at it and finally reached a point where he thought he could do just as well. He supposedly once claimed that if people were paid for writing such rot he could write stories just as rotten. That doesn’t sound a lot different from much of the self-publishing activity currently prevalent.
At any rate, he decided to write a novel that was about as foreign to pencil sharpeners as you can imagine. It was a flight of fancy to say the least with a title, "Dejah Thoris, Martian Princess." It was so unusual he was afraid editors might think he was “tetched in the head,” so he used the pen name of Normal Bean. He picked that because it implied he wasn’t kooky after all.
Well, what do you know, it got published, so he wrote a second novel. No such luck this time as it got rejected. There’s an old saying, “The third time’s the charm,” which is described as a belief that the third time something is attempted is more likely to succeed than the previous two attempts. It worked out that way this time and the third novel was accepted and first appeared in the October, 1912 issue of All-Story magazine and he got a terrific (for the times) 700-dollars for it. Talk about a career getting off and running, that did it.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, the writer was now using his own name and the little trifle mentioned was "Tarzan of the Apes" by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
As for me, I can only hope “the fourteenth time is the charm” since I already have thirteen eBooks published. If it doesn’t work out maybe I can get a job selling pencil sharpeners, or am I just figuratively swinging on vines of hope?
About John Rayburn
John Rayburn is a veteran of 62 years in broadcasting, serving as a news/sports anchor and show host. His TV newscast achieved the largest Share of Audience figures of any major-market TV newscast in the nation.
His network credits include reports/appearances on The Today Show, Huntley-Brinkley News, Walter Cronkite News, NBC Monitor, NBC News on the Hour, et al.
He recorded dozens of books for the National Library Service and narrated innumerable Radio/TV recordings. Rayburn has traveled extensively, gaining information and making observations about our national foibles.
He is well suited to bring fascinating stories to life concerning the people, places and things that combine to present lively observations of our day-to-day lives.
John's blog, 'Bloggadocio': http://bloggadocio-onairvet.blogspot.com.au/
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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