Tuesday 29 July 2014

A Nail in the Wall Does Not Mean A Nail in the Coffin

"The nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejections slips impaled upon it.  I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing." (Stephen King)

Stephen King circa 1970's courtesy blogspot.com.

Stephen King wrote not one, not two, but three novels and he still wasn't published.  He would pound away on his typewriter day after day.  And day after day he would receive rejection slips.  But that all changed with the debut of Carrie.

Carrie is a novel about a shy high school girl who is bullied.  One day she discovers she has telekinetic powers which she uses to get revenge on her tormenters, causing a disaster in her Maine hometown.

In 1974, Stephen King was living in a trailer and working as a high school English teacher.  He wrote Carrie as a short story for Cavalier magazine.  At one point, however, he was not happy with the shower scene and decided to throw the story in the garbage can.  King's wife fished the pages out and convince him to finish the story.  He went one step further and turned the story into a book.  Two weeks later, he submitted it to a publisher.  He promptly received not one, but 30 rejection slips.

He did not wait by the phone, however, for a positive response since he had his telephone service cut to save money.  Instead, he received a telegram which stated:  "Carrie officially a Double day book.  $2,500 advance against Royalites.  Congrats, Kid.  The Future Lies Ahead, Bill."

The initial hardcover version of Carrie sold a respectable 13,000 copies.  The softcover version sold a whopping one million copies in the first year.  To date Carrie has sold four million copies. 

When King received his royalty cheque, he quit his job as a teacher and became a full time writer.  Today, he has written over 120 books.  And what happened to the nail in his wall?  It's rusty.  

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