literary lottery

What’s it like for first-time authors? Alex Williams writes about it in this article. Here’s an excerpt:
“Amy Koppelman had always wanted to be a writer, even after all those years she spent slogging away on a first novel in her closet the only “office” space available in her cramped Upper West Side apartment. (…) For seven years, she hunched over her manuscript, a tale of post-partum depression and infanticide. The work spanned the course of two pregnancies and several thousand nagging doubts. Even after Koppelman, now 33, finally made the cut at Columbia in 1998, the doubts would grow so thunderous that she considered giving up and opening a coffee shop. During the darkest of those spells, she happened across a “Page Six” item in the Post concerning noise complaints in Cindy Crawford’s apartment building; it mentioned in passing that Koppelman’s idol, Joan Didion, served on the building’s board. Although she had never met Didion, Koppelman tracked down the handsome East Seventies prewar and left a copy of her manuscript with the doorman. Tucked in the package was a note, meekly asking Didion if she should just quit altogether. Three days later, Koppelman received a reply on solemn gray stationery that started, “Yes, you are a real writer . . . ” And so Koppelman pressed on. It was only when she tried to sell the book, however, that she learned what it means to be a “real writer” these days.” Read on.
Link via Moby.