15. Laura Ingalls Wilder released her first book aged 66 and went on to sell millions in her 70s
The story of Laura Ingalls Wilder gives hops to struggling writers everywhere. The American may well be one of the best-selling authors of all time, but she was no overnight success. In fact, when she published the first of her hugely popular ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series in 1932 she was 66 years old. She would release a further 7 between then and 1943. The books brought her fame and fortune and have remained popular ever since. Indeed, the ‘Little House’ books have been translated into 45 million languages and sold an incredible 60 million copies.
Even though she only found success as a novelist late in life, Wilder had in fact been writing professionally for more than 20 years before the release of her first bestseller. Notably, for more than two decades she offered her reflections on life in the great outdoors in her regular magazine column entitled ‘As a Farm Woman Thinks’. This gave her the ability to tell a gripping story, though some Wilder scholars believe that the ‘Prairie’ books were actually written with her daughter, with the younger using her journalistic skills to tighten up the dialogue. The debate continues to rage among literary scholars.