13/01/2011 by Sarah Ritchie
Born in Torquay, England, in 1890, Agatha Christie published her first book “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” in 1920.
The book sold around 2,000 copies (which wasn’t bad for an unknown author), but earned Agatha Christie a mere £25…which would have had the spending worth of around £530 in today’s currency (US$825 / NZ$1,070). She earned nothing from the royalties on the book, the money coming from a half-share in the serial rights to publish the book in the Weekly Times.
In her own words:
“£25 as the total income for writing a book did not encourage me to feel that I was likely to earn much money in a literary career. Archie [her first husband] said, ‘if a book has been good enough to take and the publisher has made some money by it (which I presume he has) he will want another. You ought to get a bit more, every time.’ I listened to this and agreed.”
Far from letting her first foray into publishing discourage her, Agatha Christie went to on write 80 detective novels, plus short stories and plays. She became the best selling novelist in history, and her work was translated into over 100 languages.
Be encouraged! If it takes a while, or if you get paid only a little (or nothing) in the beginning, don’t give up. Agatha Christie didn’t…thankfully!