Finding an Audience or Literary Death
An author walking the plank is a common fate. Here's the story of how one well-known English author was one book away from swimming with the fish.
The Grumpy Old Bookman recounts how Ian Rankin was an eyelash away from being dropped by his publisher when he had a break out novel in 1997 that saved him from being dumped into the North Sea wearing a cement suit.
“Yes, indeed. Not only was the ground fragile for Ian Rankin, but it was ground that, ten years later, few writers are going to get the chance to walk on. Not many publishers these days are going to give you half a dozen chances to find an audience. Today you either make a big impression with your first book or you can go fuck yourself. Not, of course, that anyone in publishing would put it that way, because they're all far too well bred; but that is pretty much what it amounts to.”