"An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull," said one of the twenty publishers to knock back Lord of the Flies, which later sold more than 150 million copies.
A good editor is essential to the success of any book. So this week I interviewed Sarah Vincent, author and editor of ten years with Cornerstones, one of the UK's leading Literary Consultancies.
What to do if you're not David Walliams, you don't have a big publisher to propel your Aweful Auntie to the top of the Christmas sales tree, but you're still determined to make your book a success?
Marketing your self-published book is a long game and there are all sorts of ways to keep up the interest, including blogging, podcast interviews, videos, signings and entering it into competitions. Giveaways are another great route to get your book out there and top of the giveaway options is Goodreads.
Writing is a solitary business so it's important to celebrate your book's birth into the world. The launch doesn't have to be a fanciful, costly affair, but if you want to spread the word wider than just family and friends, read on.
Tweet about your favourite bookshop. Tell others when they are putting on one of their intimate readings, or which book the insightful manager has just recommended. And if you can sneak a story into the local press about your own book and where it can be bought, even better.
Once upon a time there was a cat called Simon, who won numerous awards for bravery thanks to the part he played on board HMS Amethyst during its epic escape from the Chinese Communists many years ago. He became the world's first celebrity cat.
Keywords are crucial to the discoverability of your book so you should include these in the description. They need to be specific so that your target audience can find your book when they are searching online.
Book bloggers can be a self-published author's best friend these days. But there are thousands of them out there so you want to make sure that you are targeting the right ones for your particular book. Once again, a scattergun approach is wasting both your time and theirs. So do your research.
As for getting reviews for your book in the print media, you have a much better chance of being reviewed by the online book bloggers - nevertheless, it's worth a try. Again, target each one separately and don't use the scattergun approach with a generic press release, as many of the self-publishing services do...
But crowdfunding is fairly standard now, and people are getting the hang of it. Many books, films, music albums and so on have been very successfully made this way. It's a long road, but it's A ROAD, and I am on it, and moving forwards.
The ideal press release will contain not only all the relevant information about your book but also a tantalising hook to snag the attention of any journalist reading it. It should be as concise as possible and no longer than an A4 piece of paper (around 500- 700 words).
Twitter, like blogging, is essential to any book marketing campaign these days. It helps you connect with your peers, share important information and it gives you a voice and a profile out there in the busy world of book publishing. Like many writers - especially those from traditional publishing - I was a complete Twitter-phobe.
So here I am, no longer in the world of generous advances. My book will have to work quite hard to earn its keep. But at least it's out there. Amazon is criticised for undermining bookshops. But if more novels see the light of day and more readers get to read them, that surely has to be a good thing, doesn't it?
Having initially thought that I would put the book out myself, suddenly the idea of setting up an imprint to publish it under, finding a good quality/affordable printing company, loading it up on Amazon, getting an ISBN number (essential if you want to sell in bookshops), producing the Advanced Information sheets... all seemed just too daunting.
What to do if you're not JK Rowling, you don't have a big publishing house to promote you but you're determined to make your book a success?