New writers should take inspiration from Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie had her first novel published when she was 30 years old
Agatha Christie had her first novel
published when she was 30 years old
Imagine being the best-selling novelist of all time. Imagine being such a popular and successful novelist that more than 40 years after your death your books are still being borrowed from libraries and film and television adaptations of the stories are constantly being made.

Earlier this month it was the 130th anniversary of the birth of crime writer Agatha Christie, which prompted me to contemplate her amazing success.

To mark the occasion, I put together a display of her books in the crime section and large print crime section of the library where I work.

I had read that Guinness World Records list Agatha as the best-selling fiction writer of all time because her novels have sold more than two billion copies.

For writers just starting out, such as myself, this kind of success is mind blowing.

Agatha wrote a total of 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. Her fictional detectives, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, are familiar to people even if they have never read a detective novel.

Library display of Agatha Christie books
Agatha Christie's books remain hugely
popular with library users
But here’s a bit of information that should encourage new writers: Agatha was unsuccessful to begin with and suffered six consecutive rejections. If she’d given up at that point the world would never have had the huge body of work that has entertained so many millions of people over the years.

The turning point came for Agatha when her novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920, when she was 30 years of age. She never looked back.

Agatha’s final novel, Sleeping Murder, featuring Miss Marple, was published in 1976, the year of the novelist’s death.

The lesson to be learned by other writers from Agatha’s life and career is that they should not give up. Success might come, but only if you keep writing.


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