If you are a fan of the Dune saga, you’d be surprised to know that Frank Herbert had to go to different publishing companies before the first book was published. But which company took a leap of faith?
After several rejections, the Chilton Book Company published the first edition of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. Before taking on the job, Chilton only worked with automotive repair manuals.
Who is Frank Herbert?
Franklin Patrick Herbert Jr. was born on October 8, 1920, in Tacoma, Washington. He spent his formative years in the countryside. Growing up, he was quite fascinated with books and literature. Before the age of five, he was already reading newspapers.
Aside from his interest in literature, he also loved photography. At the early age of ten, he purchased his first camera. By the 1930s, he upgraded to a full-color film camera.
Herbert grew up in a poor home, and this was mainly because of the Great Depression. He ran away from home by 1938 and chose to live with relatives in Salem, Oregon. There he continued his education and graduated from North Salem High School.
After graduating, he got a job at the Glendale Star by lying about his age. He went on to work for the Oregon Statesman Newspaper as a writer and photographer. (Source: The Dreamer of Dune)
When Did Herbert Start Working for Dune?
Herbert started his research on his book in 1959. He focused on his writing since his wife, Flora Lillian Parkinson, worked full-time in an advertising agency. She was the breadwinner for their family. He was able to have his book published by 1965.
Herbert mentioned to Willis McNelly that the novel was originally intended to be a magazine article. He became too engrossed with the research that he ended up with so much content to work with. Although the article was never written, it was the basis of his masterpiece. (Source: Fiction Speculative)
I don’t worry about inspiration, or anything like that later, coming back and reading what I have produced, I am unable to detect the difference between what came easily and when I had to sit down and say, “Well, now it’s writing time and now I’ll write.Frank Herbert
How Many Publishers Did Herbert Go To Before Finding Chilton?
By the time Herbert was done writing his book, he had sought out publishers that would work with him. Nearly 20 companies rejected him before landing a deal with Chilton Book Company.
Sterling E. Lanier, one of the editors at Chilton, read the Dune series and offered Herbert a $7,500 advance plus royalties for the rights to publish the book. Herbert rewrote his book, and as soon as it was published – it became a critical success. (Source: Kirjasto Sci Fi)
What Awards Did Herbert’s Work Win?
Being the success that it was, Dunes won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1965, and the Hugo Award in 1966. It was also noted to be the first major ecological science fiction novel, working with several character viewpoints and interrelated themes. (Source: Kirjasto Sci Fi)