Rejection is rough stuff for writers. You spend months or years working on a book, only to find few takers among the powers-that-be. (Aside: I believe YOU are the ultimate power-that-be, which is why I am a huge fan of self-publishing.)
If it helps any, you are in good company. Here’s an excerpted list of famous authors who have their share of battle scars. Although this information appears on various sites, here’s the one I mainly used.
Apologies for not crediting the author, but I could not find his or her name.
The Christopher Little Literary Agency receives 12 publishing rejections in a row for their new client, until the eight-year-old daughter of a Bloomsbury editor demands to read the rest of the book. The editor agrees to publish but advises the writer to get a day job since she has little chance of making money in children’s books.
He received 200 rejections before Bantam took a chance on him. He is now their best ever selling author with 330 million sales.
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
One-hundred-forty rejections stating “Anthologies don’t sell,” until the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
Margaret Mitchell gets 38 rejections from publishers before finding one to publish her novel Gone With The Wind.
Three years of rejection letters are kept in a bag under her bed. The bag becomes so heavy that she is unable to lift it. But Meg Cabot does not dwell on the failure. Instead she keeps sending her manuscript out. It gets taken on and The Princess Diaries sells 15 million copies.
After 25 literary agents reject her debut manuscript, she mails it unsolicited to a small publisher in San Francisco, MacAdam/Cage. They believe it is a classic. Upon publication, the world agrees. Translated into over 33 languages and adapted into a movie, The Time Traveler’s Wife sells 7 million copies.
“It was rejected 60 times. But letter number 61 was the one that accepted me. Kathryn Stockett on the worldwide best-seller: The Help.
After 22 rejections, Dubliners is finally published. But it only sells 379 copies in the first year. James Joyce bought 120 of them.
“I haven’t the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say. Apparently the author intends it to be funny.” Publisher rejects Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, a novel believed to have been given its name because it was the 22nd publisher, Simon and Schuster, who agreed to take it on.
With 23 rejections, Frank Herbert finally lands a publisher, and Dune becomes the best-selling science-fiction novel of all time.
Thirty publishers tell Laurence Peter that his book The Peter Principle will never sell. In 1969, a mere 18 months later it is a number #1 best-seller.
Alex Haley writes for eight years and receives 200 consecutive rejections. His novel Roots becomes a publishing sensation, selling 1.5 million copies in its first seven months of release, and going on to sell 8 million. Such is the success that The Pulitzer Prize award the novel a Special Citation in 1977.
The E.E. Cummings best-seller The Enormous Room has a dedication page ‘With No Thanks To’ all 15 publishers who turned it down.
Robert M. Pirsig