“It’s impossible to sell animal stories in the US.” So said one American publisher after rejecting the manuscript of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

He was spectacularly wrong, but not alone among the literary establishment in rejecting some of the world’s best-known and most-loved books.

For centuries, agents and publishers have acted as gatekeeper of the printed word that gives authors access to a potential audience of millions.

But a growing army of writers, emboldened by new technology and the proliferation of e-readers, are rejecting the traditional publishing model. Read the article