Monday, May 2, 2011

Who HASN'T Been Rejected?

We've all been there at some point. Feeling like there are only rejections cluttering your inbox? Thinking that you will never get an agent? Never get published? The journey can be very frustrating.

But sometimes hearing about other authors rejections who turned into famous, accomplished authors can help us feel better.

Judy Blume. She "received nothing but rejections" for two years. Judy Blume stated, " I would go to sleep at night feeling that I'd never be published. But I'd wake up in the morning convinced I would be. Each time I sent a story or book off to a publisher, I would sit down and begin something new. I was learning more with each effort. I was determined. Determination and hard work are as important as talent."  Who hasn't felt like this, right?

Meg Cabot. Who hasn't read THE PRINCESS DIARIES? It slipped through the hands of 17 publishers before finally being accepted for publication.

Stephen King. He received dozens of rejections for his first novel, CARRIE. He even recevied a rejection from a publisher that stated, "We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell."

William Golding, author of LORD OF THE FLIES. This book was rejected 20 times. One rejection from a publisher said, "an absurd and uninteresting fantasy."

Anne Frank. 16 publishers rejected her! One publisher said, "The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the 'curiosity' level." Another said the book was scarcely worth reading.  Really??

J.K. Rowling. So, the first Harry Potter book was rejected by DOZENS of publishers. Big ones, including Penguin, HarperCollins and Bloomsbury. Guess how the book finally became published? A CEO’s eight-year old daughter begged her father to print the book.

John Grisham. His first novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected by a dozen publishers and 16 agents before breaking into print and launching his best-selling career.

EE Cummings. His first work, The Enormous Room, was rejected by 15 publishers. He eventually self-published the book which went on to become considered a masterpiece of modern poetry. And get this--he dedicated the book to the 15 publishers who rejected him. Nice!

Now, doesn't this make you feel a little better?

"The best revenge is massive success." Frank Sinatra


  1. Madeleine L'Engle was rejected for an entire decade. Publishers told her there wasn't a place for older kids' books. She wrote YA before her time!! She went on to publish 60 books in her career. Keep on keeping on!

  2. I think one of the most difficult parts of the whole business of trying to get published is that people outside the industy, including family and friends, do not understand just exactly how tough it is. I didn't keep track of all my rejections, but there were many and it took years to finally get an agent. Impatience is not a good thing for writer. I'm not sure what keeps us going beyond pure stubbornness.

  3. Haha- good thing I'm stubborn:)

  4. Yeah, you need a thick skin as a writer. But every sting of rejection makes me dig in and work more. You don't learn if you don't fail.

  5. Heather's comment is the only really inspiring one. 20 times? I've been rejected 20 times before breakfast.

  6. You gotta be stubborn and believe in yourself if you want to be a writer.

  7. The trick is not to take it personally! But you really, really can't.

  8. This is such a great post! As writers, we've ALL been rejected, some many times over, but it's great to see BIG authors have gone through it too. And Tim is totally right, you will STILL take it personally! ;)

  9. Yes. Yes it does. Thank you!

  10. Yes, rejection is inevitable and something we need to learn to deal with, and it just plain sucks. It does help to hear about these accomplished authors who've gotten by the "Big "R" and I'll add a site that has even more evidence that rejection doesn't mean it's over. Check out:

  11. Thanks. Two down. Eight to go!!!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!