Famous writers

10 famous writers who were rejected before making it big

Image source: Wikipedia

In preparation for what I fear is going to be an imminent rejection, I thought I’d console myself with a list of famous rejected authors who have since gone on to achieve superstardom in the publishing world. Happily, there are quite a few of them.

Here are some biggies:

  1. Beatrix Potter had so much trouble finding a publisher for The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she resorted to publishing it herself.
  2. Madeline L’Engle received 26 rejections for her book A Wrinkle in Time which went on to become one of the best-selling children’s books of all time.
  3. 18 publishers thought Richard Bach was a nutter for writing a book about a seagull. Jonathan Livingston Seagull was eventually picked up in 1972 and sold more than a million copies in that year alone.
  4. William Golding racked up 20 rejections for Lord of the Flies before it was published.
  5. It took John Grisham three years to write his first novel A Time to Kill which was rejected 25 times. His books have since sold over 250 million copies worldwide.
  6. Stephen King received dozens of rejections before his novel Carrie was published. The novel would never have been finished if it weren’t for his wife, Tabitha. In a fit of despondency, he had thrown the manuscript in the bin. His wife fished it out and persuaded him to carry on, saying; “You’ve got something here, I really think you do”.
  7. Meg Cabot, bestselling author of The Princess Diaries, was rejected for years: “I kept all my rejection letters in a US postal mail bag under my bed. I vowed when I got published I would a) sneer at everyone who’d rejected me, and b) show the bag to school kids and tell them never to give up on their dreams.”
  8. Judy Blume, who has sold in excess of 80 million copies of her books, originally received nothing but rejections for two years: “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.”
  9. J.K. Rowling submitted Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to 12 publishing houses and was famously rejected by giants like Penguin and HarperCollins. In the end Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, accepted the book…but only because the CEO’s eight-year old daughter begged him to.
  10. The Dr. Seuss book, And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected for being “too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant selling”. He did OK though – today he is ranked 9th in the world’s bestselling fiction authors with an estimated 500 million worldwide sales.

Ah…I feel much better now.

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