Getting a rejection letter for your book is a lot like a swift punch in the face from you mother who’s supposed to love you no matter what! It’s shocking. I mean you knew it might happen (the odds are it would) but some part of you was sure that the book was ready! And you love it! So why doesn’t anyone else?
The truth is, there’s a hundred reasons why an editor/agent might pass on your book. Maybe they hate stories about dragons. Maybe they have a similar story already on their list, or the voice isn’t strong enough, or they’ve never had a painful breakup and they just can’t relate. What ever the reasons, it doesn’t mean you should stop writing.
In the face of my current rejections I thought I’d compile a list of famous writers who were one day in the same boat as the rest of us, that’s right, wondering what to do as the stacks of rejection letters began to pile up. Could you imaging what the literary world would be like if these guys gave up?
Dr. Seuss – 27 publishers rejected his first book To Think I Saw it On Mulberry Street.
J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone was rejected 12 times.
Meg Cabbot – 17 rejections for The Princess Diaries.
Stephanie Meyer – 9 rejection letters and 5 no-responses for Twilight.
Steven King – 30 rejection letters for his fist novel Carrie.
Madeline L’Engle – 29 rejections for A Wrinkle in Time.
Alex Hayley – Author of Roots received 208 rejection letters!
William Goldling –Author of Lord of The Flies got 20 rejection letters.
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen: Authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul received 134 rejections.
John Grisham – 16 rejections for A Time to Kill.
Judy Blume – Judy Blume received nothing but rejections for two years and can’t look at Highlights without wincing.
And ain’t life a bitch… Jerzy Kosinski won the 1969 National Book Award for his novel Steps. Eight years later, he submitted his novel again under a different title and byline to test the plight of new writers. Thirteen agents and 14 publishers rejected it, including Random House which had published it eight years before.
Also check out these Letters from the Editor about why some of the above authors (and others) books were considered un-publishable.
NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER SURRENDER!
Keep writing everyone! I like to remind myself that no one will every write the book I am writing, and if I don’t write it…then it will be gone forever.