Monday, July 12, 2010

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

You've all suffered through it, whether you're  a writer or not. Rejection. The bad word for most humans. The one that hurts unless we have more callouses than than a guitar playing finger.

Tamela Murray Hancock had a great post about writing rejections recently, and I thought it would be appropriate to remind and encourage my writing readers what certain famous writers went through.

I know we've all read and heard, but still. Sometimes it's good to remember, to look at history, to understand that we're not alone.

  • Margaret Mitchell garnered 38 rejections with Gone With the Wind.
  • Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, authors of the multi-million dollar Chicken Soup for the Soul series received an astounding 140 rejections. A book that went on to become a 65-title series, has sold more than 80 million copies in 37 languages.
(Me: I imagine those all those editors are still kicking themselves!)
  • Emily Dickinson, only 7 poems published during her lifetime read this rejection: "(Your poems) are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities." (Me: What?)
  • Ernest Hemingway, regarding his novel, The Torrents of Spring: "It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it."
  • William Faulkner, "I can't publish this!"
  • D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover: “for your own sake do not publish this book.”

  • William Golding, Lord of the Flies: "an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”
  • Norman Mailer, The Deer Park: "This will set publishing back 25 years.”
  • 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.”

  • Irving Stone, Lust for Life, rejected 16 times but found a publisher and went on to sell about 25 million copies: “A long, dull novel about an artist.”
  • Stephen King, Carrie: “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.” (Me: Someone made a booboo!)
  • John le Carré, The Spy who Came in from the Cold: “You’re welcome to le Carré – he hasn’t got any future.”
  • George Orwell, Animal Farm: “It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”

  • Richard Hooker, M*A*S*H: 21 rejections.
  • Dr. Seuss, first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street: 27 rejections. (Me: love this silly children's book!)
  • Jack London: 600 rejections before he sold his first story. (Me: Remember the Call of the Wild?)
  • John Creasey, English crime novelist: 753 rejection before publishing 564 books. (Me: Whoa!)
  • William Saroya:more than a thousand rejections before he had his first literary piece published.  (Me: Double whoa!)

Encouraged yet?


Trinity Rose said...

yeracqIt's so neat to read this.
It tells us to never give up if you think what you're doing is right.
Thanks for this,
Trinity Rose

jill said...

Thanks, Caroline. We all need to read things like this every so often. Writers must want to quit more often than most people, I'm guessing. We can keep each other going! (And I love your pictures.)

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