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From The Archives: How Writers Made It BIG - Veronica Roth

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Every now and then, I'll be re-posting popular posts from my old blog, Words With You.

This particular post was originally created in December of 2014, and it's part of my How Writer's Made It Big series.

Check it out below!

I get really excited and anxious when I write these. My hope is that it inspires you to finish your manuscript just as much as it inspires me.

On that note, here's how Veronica Roth made it BIG!!!

Veronica Roth. Nelson Fitch
Veronica Roth. Nelson Fitch

For Roth, once choice transformed her.

It started at a writer's conference in Muncie, Indiana--the middle of freaking no where. 

Here, was the beginning of the beginning for Roth. She signed up for a pitch session with agent Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of New Leaf Literary Agency

Volpe requested a partial. Roth made revisions. And eventually the manuscript was turned down--BUT the manuscript that Roth submitted wasn't Divergent. Nope.

In response to the rejection, Roth wrote a new book, polished it, and submitted it to Volpe yet again. 

Then she waited, and waited, until at last: she received a phone call. 

"Okay, so you know how, while you're querying, you spend a lot of time refreshing your inbox and irrationally convincing yourself that every unknown number that calls you is an agent who will tell you that all your dreams have come true? Well, sometimes that unknown number IS actually an agent, calling to tell you that she lost power, which is why she couldn't send you an email, and PS, she's offering you representation," said Roth on her blog.

That was Divergent. Yup! Roth had submitted 56,000 words, a little less than 200 pages, and Volpe loved it. Together they worked on reversions where Roth added 49,000 more words, clocking in at a total of 105,000 words. 

During four days of submission, Roth received another phone call. This time Harper Collins wanted her book, along with the series.

Roth's response: "Okay. I'm going to cry a little now." Roth has loved Harper Collins since she was a toddler, and she never imagined being published by a company as big as this one. 

And that is how twenty-one-year-old (at the time) Veronica Roth made it big. 

Now she has a deal with Summit Entertainment and has a movie series, along with the complete Trilogy making New York Times best seller list. 

"It's been amazing. It's obviously not what I was expecting when I was in my rubber ducky pajamas writing this first book on Winter break. It's been definitely kind of transformative. It's definitely changed me as a writer, and it's been really exciting," said Roth in an interview.


Honestly, I'm not sure what how many rejections Veronica received. I don't think she received any from Divergent. From all that I've read, it seems that the only rejection she received was from her first book.

Why Divergent worked for Roth:

Besides the obvious relationship she had with Volpe, Roth had a great idea for a book and she put it into action. Many critiques say it's a mix between The Maze Runner and The Hungers Games, which is probably why it has so much hype. I'd say: great writing and great timing. 

Where are they now:

It seems that after writing Divergent, Roth also focused on Four. Not the number, but the actual book. I haven't read Four, but according to wiki, "Four is a collection of five e-Book short stories from the Divergent trilogy, told from Tobias Eaton's (Four) perspective, and written by Veronica Roth."

But, Roth has also been up to a multitude of things since the release of her books and movies. To find out more, fill free to creep on her blog: 

Advice from Roth:

"Stop going back and reading it out loud! Don't reread at all, if it's keeping you from writing. Just push forward through the idea until you reach the end, and then work to revise it—but you'll never know how to fix the idea if you are never able to execute it."

That's it for today's post!

Till next time, blog world. 

And remember: Once choice can transform you. 

Updated Info: Click here for Veronica Roth's most recent book, Chosen Ones.

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