The Myth of the Overnight Success and What Those Stories Have in Common

Carly Watters, Literary Agent

Publishing has become a sensationalized industry. Journalists love to write about the death of the business, while those of us in it know it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that’s doing just fine, thanks.

Big stories consume the media cycle: the million dollar advance!the 18-year-old who secures a big publishing deal! and lastly, the overnight success! 

The overnight success is something that sounds great in theory, but deep down writers know it’s a publishing unicorn.

Things like honing your craft, writing a novel over the course of many years, and having a quiet publishing story are the backbone of this business. It’s hard for publishing to get out front of stories because there are so few that blow up and the majority of books are average sellers.

Thinking about Mark Zuckerberg’s book club has most recently perpetuated this myth. Some call it the second coming of the Oprah book club…

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