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'Rejected by every single UK publisher'

20 April 2009

'All writers, unless they're very fortunate, know how difficult it is to get noticed, to become 'discovered'. I became an 'overnight success' (I clapped when I read the review that said it) after almost twenty years: stories in obscure little magazines; a couple of story collections published by a tiny northeastern press; a novel rejected by every single UK publisher; a couple of dozen readers who loved my work; a part of me that said it all would work out well; and another part that simply didn't give a damn. I wrote because I loved to write, and I'd keep on writing no matter how much recognition I received.

An important thing to know is that the world of publishers and agents that can seem so distant, so elusive, so impenetrable isn't really so. They, too, know how difficult it is. After all, they spend their days rejecting manuscripts; they gaze wearily at their ever-mounting slush piles. But they also know that there will be magical moments when the manuscript arrives from an unknown name that stops them in their tracks, that makes them say, 'Aha!' And a new writer is suddenly discovered. It happens, and it keeps on happening.

David Almond on SWBWI website Undiscovered Voices