I need some inspiration--and thought I'd share that inspiration with you.
Writer Michelle Kerns at examiner.com has written three articles about famous writers who have been rejected, and I'm finding inspiration in the tenacity of those authors who pushed on and finally found success.
Here, according to my experience, are three big "reasons" that writers become discouraged while seeking publication:
- John le Carré: His famous first novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, was passed on from one publisher to another with these words: "You’re welcome to le Carré – he hasn’t got any future."
- Judy Blume: A highly successful and influential young adult novelist, Judy Blume's novels grew up with her kids, from Freckle Juice and Superfudge to Wifey and Smart Women. Here are her words about seeking publication: "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. Each time I sent a story or book off to a publisher, I would sit down and begin something new. I was learning more with each effort. I was determined. Determination and hard work are as important as talent."
Your Vision Is Not the Current Fad
- Tony Hillerman: Publishing over 30 books, including his famous series about the Navajo Tribal Police, he received many awards for his writing, including the Mystery Writers of Americas's Grand Master Award. He was told by publishers early on "to get rid of all that Indian stuff.
- George Orwell: Animal Farm was rejected with the following words: "It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA."
Editorial Preferences Are Different
- Joseph Heller: Considered a modern classic of anti-war black humor, Catch-22 was cast aside by one publisher with these words: "I haven’t 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."
- Anne Frank: Making one wonder whether the editor actually read The Diary of Anne Frank, one rejection comment was as follows: "The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the 'curiosity' level."
E.E. Cummings' The Enormous Room was rejected by fifteen publishers. He eventually self-published the book, dedicating it to the publishers who had rejected the autobiographical novel. E.E. Cummings is considered to be one of the masters of modern poetry.
There are many possible paths to reaching readers with your words. May we all find one that fits our needs.
"30 famous authors whose works were rejected (repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers."
The second and third articles link consecutively.
Copyright 2011 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved