Writing Rejection & Other Funnies Part 1

Writing Rejection & Other Funnies Part 1

1400dYou are a writer wannabe. You  are banging away on that Great American Novel. It’s finally finished. You submit to various agents and publishers to get a few rejections letters. You are despondent. The bath tub and some razors are calling your name. Buck up, Bunky. You are not the first to ever get a rejection letter. Some of those authors actually did okay for themselves. Check out: OnlineCollege.org

  • Rejected 20 times – Lord of the Flies by William Golding: rejected 20 times before it was published. “An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.” Rejection letter sent to William Golding for The Lord Of The Flies. 15 million sales.
  • John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: passed on… le Carré “hasn’t got any future.” John le Carre, having one of the most distinguished careers in literary history.
  • Rejected 38 times – Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: rejected 38 times before it was published. It sells 30 million copies.
  • Sanctuary by William Faulkner: called “unpublishable.”
  • Submitted for 22 yrs – Gertrude Stein submitted poems for 22 years before having one published.
  • Rejected 15 times – Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl: rejected 15 times before it was published. “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.” Perhaps the most misguided literary critique in history. With a further 15 rejections, there remained little hope her personal thoughts would see the light of day. Eventually, Doubleday, bring the translation to the world, and The Diary of Anne Frank sells 25 million.
  • Rejected so many times she decided to self-publish, Beatrix Potter had to publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit herself. It has now sold 45 million
  • Rejected 30 times – Carrie by Stephen King: rejected 30 times before it was published.
    • After Random House rejects his debut novel The Long Walk, he puts it away & ponders his next move. Stephen King decides to write a new novel
    • 1 rejection to S. King’s Carrie read: “We are not interested in science fiction which deals w/ negative utopias. They do not sell.” Stephen King’s Carrie sells 1 million in the first year alone.
  • Louisa May Alcott: told to stick to teaching. Louisa May Alcott refuses to give up on her dream. Little Women sells millions, and is still in print 140 years later. Unlike the name of the publisher who told her to give up.
  • Rejected 121 times – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig: rejected 121 times before it was published. In the Guinness Book Of Records for 121 rejections, more than any other best-seller.
  • Rejected 14 times – E. E. Cummings named the 14 publishers who rejected him in No Thanks.
  • Rudyard Kipling: told he didn’t know how to use the English language.
  • Rejected 26 times – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: rejected 26 times before it was published. It wins the 1963 Newbery Medal and becomes an international best-seller. 8 million sales and counting.
  • Frenetic and scrambled prose.” Viking Press disagrees, and publish one of the most influential novels of all time. Since 1957 it has regularly sold at least 60,000 copies every year. Which has seen On The Road by Jack Kerouac, become a multi-million best-seller.
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell: rejected because “there is no market for animal stories in the USA.” T.S. Eliot as head of Faber & Faber rejects it because of “Trotskyite politics.” Secker & Warburg spot potential, and George Orwell‘s Animal Farm becomes a best-seller.
  • Rejected 23 times – Dune by Frank Herbert: rejected 23 times before it was published.
  • Rejected 22 timesDubliners by James Joyce: rejected 22 times before it was published. But it only sells 379 copies in the first year. James Joyce bought 120 of them.
  • Ulysses by James Joyce: also rejected several times on the grounds of “obscenity.”
  • The New Yorker on Catch-22: “doesn’t even seem to be written; instead, it gives the impression of having been shouted onto paper. What remains is a debris of sour jokes.” “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. To date: 10 million sales.

So keep the faith.

More to come…