What Age Do Authors Pen Their Breakthrough Novels?

If you're a young writer hoping to make it big in the literary world, it's easy to feel like if you haven't made it by now you never will — after all, Charles Dickens published his first book at the age of 26; Jack Kerouac's first novel came out when he was just 21. But as it turns out, making it in your 20s isn't the norm for anyone, as proved by a new infographic from Blinkbox Books showing authors' ages when they made career breakthroughs. And it seems that Kerouac really is a strange outlier. But then what else could you expect from Kerouac?

The infographic breaks down the careers of 65 popular authors from a wide variety of times and genres, from young adult authors like Meg Cabot to science fiction staples like Douglas Adams, romance writers like Nicholas Sparks and literary favorites from the Jane Austen era up to the present. We're able to not only see the books each authors published and their age when the book came out, but also which book was their "breakthrough," the one that catapulted them to fame and fortune. And the thing that shines through most plainly is that no two careers are remotely the same.

It turns out that a breakthrough novel can come at any age, from 26 (Jack Kerouac, On the Road) to 65 (Rosamund Pilcher, The Shell Seekers). It can be your first book, like it was for Douglas Adams with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or your tenth, as it was for Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Or, if you're Nora Roberts, you're breakthrough book can come when you're 42 and have already published more than 60 books over the past 10 years.

Like I said, careers sometimes look very different than you think they might.

Just click to take a look.