authors / publishing / writers

Rejected? You Have Stellar Company

Read this. The authors who have been rejected by publishers, well, let’s say it’ll cheer you up:

Sometimes, as we strive to share our remarkable ideas with the world, we have to deal with criticism and often times, rejection. But that is ok.

Criticism and rejection can be used constructively to help you become a better creator. The key is to understand that everyone is always going to have his or her own opinion. But just because someone disagrees with your outlook or your way of being creative doesn’t make you or them wrong. It is important to stay positive and diligent with your work and to always always try. You owe it to yourself for the hard work you’ve accomplished.

With all that in mind, I thought I would share with you a list of bestselling books that were each highly criticized and rejected many times before they finally made their mark on the world. Some of them will probably surprise you.

Take a look and realize that each of these authors was in the same boat as any new author starting out at one point or another. The difference being they didn’t have a cool tool like Lulu.com at the time to give them complete creative control over their work or the freedom to instantly sell their books all over the globe. These authors stuck to it, and you can too. And Lulu is here to help.

The list gets better. Here are some I got from Marilee Brother’s blog:

To Stephen King on Carrie… “We’re not interested in science fiction that deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”

To Irving Stone on Lust for Life…“A long dull novel about an artist.” (After 16 rejections, Stone found a publisher and the novel sold twenty-five million copies.)

On The Diary of Anne Frank… “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.”

To Anita Loos on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes… “Do you realize, young lady, that you’re the first American writer to poke fun at sex?”

To J.G. Ballard on Crash… “The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.”

Mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark received a $60 million plus advance for five books. But when she was trying to sell Journey Back to Love in the 1960s, one rejection letter stated, “We found the heroine as boring as her husband did.”

Dr. Seuss received the following: “…too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”

Only seven of Emily Dickinson’s poems were published during her lifetime. One rejection said, “Your poems are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauty and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.”

The Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemmingway elicited the following rejection: “It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horrible cruel, should we want to publish it.”

Of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, one editor said, “I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say… Apparently the author intends it to be funny–possibly even satire–but it is really not funny on any intellectual level… From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.”

On Jacqueline Susanne’sValley of the Dolls: “She is a painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish writer whose every sentence, paragraph and scene cries for the hand of a pro.”

Every reason these great have been rejected for, I have to. I feel special.

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8 thoughts on “Rejected? You Have Stellar Company

  1. You’re right, this is very cheering. Thanks.

    I find that the more time I spend on a ms, the more I have to keep working on getting it out there, so that the time I’ve already spent isn’t going to be wasted.

    • Most of these rejected authors were breaking new ground. My paleo-historic novels have that bent to them and were soundly rejected by agents. They were all wrong, of course!

  2. Pingback: On Blogging: Can We Talk? | Mirth and Motivation

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