Dorothy Koomson: from Rejection to Success

orothy Koomson is an award winning, best selling novelist of Ghanaian descent.  Described as “Britain’s biggest selling black author of adult fiction”, she has published fifteen novels, with her latest one – ‘Tell Me Your Secret’ – having come out in 2019. She is probably best known for her 2010 best-selling novel ‘The Ice Cream Girls’, and as she has confirmed in the past, a sequel is underway for it, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to interview Dorothy and ask questions about her career, how it all began, and what led to her decision to become a writer in the first place. A full transcript of our discussion can be found here but for this short piece, we shall focus on the perseverance that propelled her from a reject to a success story within years.

Dorothy was first published in 2001 after writing the first three chapters of her first book, ‘The Cupid Effect’. Considering how successful she is today, it is quite shocking to know that she was initially rejected by ‘pretty much every agent’ she approached. In spite of this fact, however, she ‘finished the book and tried again’. After being rejected again by most of the agents she approached, she decided ‘to send it to a publisher directly’ and two months later when she’d ‘pretty much given up hope of hearing back from them’, she received a letter offering her a two-book deal! ‘The Cupid Effect’ went on sale in February 2003, and the rest – as they say – is history.

Sometimes, I wonder how I would have reacted to rejection on that scale. I’d probably have been discouraged to the point on giving up, but if there’s something that Dorothy’s story teaches us, it’s that we should always remember, no matter what career we’re in, that rejection is just a part of the process. As Dorothy herself said, ‘if you’re like me, you’re going to get rejected A LOT! And you have to put it behind you. Decide that your book/ story/ proposal wasn’t for them and carry on. It’s not easy, but the alternative is giving up and for me, I couldn’t give up writing. If you want to write, keep going until you get to where you want to be’.

Having heard a story like Dorothy’s, especially from the proverbial horse’s mouth, we are definitely more inspired than ever (and we hope you are too) to keep going and never give up, because you never know what’s on the other side of rejection. ‘Tell Me Your Secret’ is out now  in paperback, and ‘All My Lies Are True’, due to be published this summer (9th July 2020), is available to pre-order now. Many thanks to ED public relations for sending us a free copy of ‘Tell Me Your Secret’, and to Dorothy for taking the time to talk to us about her journey as a writer among other things. A complete transcript of our discussion can be found here, so read up and enjoy.