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Friday, October 14, 2011



Check out these various sites recalling those surprising rejections from publishers, some classic authors rejected many, many, many times.

From WritersRelief
  1. John Grisham’s first novel was rejected 25 times.
  2. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) received 134 rejections.
  3. Beatrix Potter had so much trouble publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she initially had to self-publish it.
  4. Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted  
From Neatorama

Everyone's heard the story of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Plenty of publishers took a gander at the Chosen One and decided not to choose him, including bigwigs like Penguin and HarperCollins. Jo Rowling finally decided to try a small London firm called Bloomsbury, who accepted only after the CEO’s eight-year-old daughter read the book and declared it a winner."

"Gone With the Wind – one of the most enduring novels and movies of all time, of course. There aren’t too many people who haven’t heard the phrase, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” But it was 38 publishers who didn’t give a damn originally. When Margaret Mitchell finally found a publisher in Macmillan (Macmillan also published White Fang and Call of the Wild)."

From WritersServices

Anais Nin
'There is no commercial advantage in acquiring her, and, in my opinion, no artistic.'
Jack Kerouac
'His frenetic and scrambled prose perfectly express the feverish travels of the Beat Generation.  But is that enough?  I don't think so.'
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence
'for your own sake do not publish this book.'
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
'an irresponsible holiday story'

And finally, a list of how often famous writers got rejected along with a few coping skills from WritingClasses 
Three tips for coping with rejection:
  1. Laugh at your rejections.
  2. Learn from your rejections.
  3. Always have a new project underway, something that will give you hope no matter how many rejections come your way for the previous project.
You may take some consolation in knowing the rejection history of these writers and works:
Dune by Frank Herbert – 13 rejections
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 14 rejections
Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis – 17 rejections
Jonathan Livingston Seagull – 18 rejections  
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – 29 rejections 
Carrie by Stephen King – over 30 rejections 


  1. These statistics give us all hope and reason not to give up. Love the Boo Hoo picture, too.

  2. Yes - I thought about my rejections - mostly very nice but one or two a bit hard to take.

  3. Great advice. Just learn from it, and move on.

  4. I have heard many of these horror rejection stats. Isn't it weird that such horrible stats are what give us hope as writers. I read the first site you linked to and bookmarked the others.

    I read an article last year,(cannot remember where) that showed the results of some sort of test to tease an agent. They submitted work from well known published authors, but portrayed them as newbies with little or no experience. It was frightening. One of the works presented to an agency was a query letter from an already publihed Grisham novel, withn a made up title and author name. The query was rejected by three lit agents. It was the exact premise, story of best selling work. Now that is enough to scare the hell out of an unpublished auhtor

    Interesting post.

  5. Hi Melissa - funny I posted this last week in the face of my critique partner just having her agent sign a six figure deal with William Morris two days ago! What a miracle. It's good to keep in mind miracles can happen - with hard work and just keep writing - this was the author's first book she'd submitted and so amazing she got an agent a month ago and this huge deal with a big time publisher. So I think the caution is to not get sucked into worry about what could happen but just keep writing.


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