Nil Desperandum… revisit #publishing #author





Ernest Hemmingway wrote The Torrents of Spring to encourage his existing publisher to reject it, he used the opportunity to switch publishers.  So not all rejections are bad


George Orwell’s Animal Farm was rejected four times for fears it might create political problems between the US, UK and the Soviet Union. One publisher must have missed the point saying, ‘It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.’


Yann Martel’s Life of Pi was turned down by five publishers, it went on to win The Man Booker Prize. Lucy Maud Montgomery also had five rejections for Anne of Green Gables.


Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov was rejected by six major publishers, one stated, ‘… overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian.’ Once accepted, it sold 100,000 copies in less than a month. At the other end of the subject spectrum Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit also notched up six rejections, so she self-published.


J K Rowling submitted her manuscripts via an agent and was rejected eight times, it was the 8 year-old daughter of a publishing editor that showed enthusiasm and the rest was reported above.


Stephenie Meyer received nine agency rejections for the Twilight series and no response from five more before she managed to get it accepted.


James Patterson was rejected by twelve publishers before he found an agent for his work.


Richard Adams’s Watership Down was rejected thirteen times, one stating, ‘older children wouldn’t like it because its language was too difficult.’


Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl was rejected fifteen times, one suggested, ‘‘The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the curiosity level.’. E.E. Cummings best-seller The Enormous Room was also rejected so he self-published and used his dedication page to state ‘With no thanks to’ the 15 publishers who had rejected it.


Sixteen agents and twelve publishers rejected John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. Irving Stone’s book on the life of Van Gogh Lust for Life also clocked up sixteen rejections, it would sell 25 million copies and prompted a Kirk Douglas film.


Patrick Dennis received seventeen rejections, yet became the first author in history to have three simultaneous books in the NY Times best-seller list.


R D Blackore’s Lorna Doone was turned down eighteen times.


Agatha Christie was rejected twenty times across five years before she broke through to become the best-selling novelist of all-time. James Joyce also got twenty rejections, constantly re-worked the manuscript for twelve years before A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was published. Thor Heyerdahl’s The Kon-Tiki Expedition was another that logged twenty rejections.


William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was described by one publisher as ‘…an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.’ A total of twenty-one publishers rejected the manuscript. Richard Hornberger received twenty-one rejections before changing his nom-de-plume to Richard Hooker. His debut novel M*A*S*H became a hit and spawned one of the most popular TV shows and an Oscar-winning movie.


Joseph Heller is said to have called his novel Catch 22, because it was finally published by the 22nd publisher he had approached (though there is said to be some doubt about this). One reviewer is reported to have said, ‘I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say.’


Frank Herbert worked for six years on his manuscript and then was rejected 23 times for the sci-fi novel Dune, it became the best-selling science fiction novel of all time.


Nicholas Sparks’s The Notebook was rejected 24 times, when it was published it went straight in to the NY Times best-seller list.


Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife was rejected twenty-five times before finding an enthusiastic publisher.


Jerzy Kosinski became frustrated by publishers and sent out his manuscript for Steps to four publishers and all rejected it. A few years later he submitted it again to 26 literary agents and 14 publishers again all of them rejected it.


Dr Seuss had a tough time getting going, twenty-seven publishers rejected his And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street.   One said, ‘This is too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling’. He wnt on to sell 2 million copies in his series and won two Academy Awards, two Emmy’s, a Pulitzer Prize and a Peabody Award.


Stephen King’s Carrie received thirty rejections, including, ‘We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.’ Laurence Peter was also rejected by thirty publishers for his The Peter Principle, within eighteen months it was a best-seller.


Margaret Mitchell had 38 rejections for Gone with the Wind, it became an instant best-seller and would sell 30 million copies.


Pursuit of Honour by Vince Flynn was rejected more than sixty times.


Jasper Fforde’s fantasy genre novel The Eyre Affair is well regarded now, but not before it had experienced 76 rejections.


Trying for six years and receiving 85 rejections Steve Berry finally got his book The Amber Room published, saying, ‘I’m kind of living proof of that thing that you never give up and quit.’


The Young Adult genre author Meg Cabot placed her rejection letters in to a bag – it soon became too heavy for her to lift.


Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance had 121 rejections and was once cited in the Guinness Book of Records as being the most-rejected bestseller.


Chicken Soup For The Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen ‘achieved’ 140 rejections but it is now published in 54 languages.


There were 200 rejections for Alex Haley’s Roots, but once it was published it earned him a special Pulitzer Prize – for the content, not the tenacity!


Jack London was famous for Call of the Wild and White Fang. Yet his estate in San Francisco displays around 600 rejections that he amassed before publishing any of his work.


C S Lewis is top of the shop having received 800 rejections before selling any of his writing.  That is unless you know of someone else who had to work harder than this?



Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :