“Famous Writers Recovered from Rejection, So Can You. Submit Again #1″ by Joan Y. Edwards
First in Rejected – Submit Again Series (Pub Sub)
Thank you, Riley Amos Westbook, (sonshinegreene), one of my latest subscribers, for telling me he would like to know more about how many times famous writers got rejected. I had no idea that little seed of curiosity would lead to a whole series of posts about this topic. There are over one hundred authors I found with information about their rejections before they were published. I put them in alphabetical order by first names to help you and me find them easier.
- Agatha Christie tried to get The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring the character of Poirot published for 5 years without success. She got it published in 1920. The Guinness Book of World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. She published 85 books according to Wikipedia as noted by Passive Guy in “Ten Best Selling Fiction Authors of All Time
Alex Haley wrote short stories and articles and sent them to magazines and publishers back in the United States. Although he received mostly rejection letters in return, a handful of his stories were published, encouraging Haley to keep writing. His book and movie “Roots” told the story of his ancestors.
Alice Walker. Literary Rejections stated in “Best Sellers Initially Rejected” that Little, Brown & Company passed on a two book deal for Alice Walker. When complete her novel The Color Purple sold 10 million and won the The Pulitzer Prize. Her Official Website stated that she was the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize.
Allen Loeb. Kyle Buchanan’s article on The Vulture quoted Allen as saying, “[I was] the baby writer at the lowest rung within the system, who has just enough rope to hang himself. That’s what I lived and breathed for seven, eight years.” Undercover, Escape From New York, Rock of Ages, Just Go With It, and countless other films.
Amanda Hocking. Ed Pinkington relates that in March 2010 Amanda needed $300.00 to go to Chicago for a Muppet exhibit. Here’s how she got her $300.00. She self-published one of her many novels that had been rejected by umpteen book agents and publishing houses from 2001-2010 on Amazon and other digital eBook websites She thought surely, she could sell a few copies to her family and friends. She was right. By October 2010, she not only raised $300.00 but she sold 150,000 copies of her books. She published My Blood Approves on March 17, 2010 and My Blood Approves, Book 2 called Fate was published April 15, 2010.
Andy Warhol. The Guardian says in its blog, “In a way, he was not a writer at all. All his books were either dictated or transcribed from recordings, and in this respect he was part of a curiously old-fashioned tradition. In the LA Times Culture Monster blog, it shows a letter from the Modern Museum of Art(now known as the New York Museum of Art) in which they reject the copy of The Shoe drawing that Andy offered to donate to them for free. The museum official, Alfred H. Barr, Jr. wrote “I regret that I must report to you that the Committee decided, after careful consideration, that they ought not to accept it for our Collection.”
Anne Frank. John Noonan states in his article on Finding Dulcinea.com that after the holocaust was over, Anne’s father, Otto Frank found her diary. He typed it in German and shared it with family and close friends, who convinced him to share it with the world. He took it to a publisher, which released the first copies of the diary, titled “Het Achterhuis,” or “The Secret Annex,” on June 25, 1947.
David Oshinsky states in his New York Times Book Review that The Diary of Anne was rejected by Frank Knopf and 15 others before Doubleday published it in 1952. Now it is one of the best-selling books in history. According to one publisher, The Diary of Anne Frank was scarcely worth reading: “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.”
- Audrey Niffenegger. In Jessica Strawser’s interview in Writer’s Digest.com, she stated that Audrey Niffenegger spent four and a half years writing The Time Traveler’s Wife and had 20 or more agent rejections before it was published in 2003.
Ayn Rand, One Hundred Rejections.com says that Rand did not enjoy real success until the publication of The Fountainhead in 1943 which was rejected 12 times. Gradesaver.com states in its Biography of Ayn Rand that many people consider her last novel, Atlas Shrugged (1957) to be her masterpiece
10. Beatrix Potter. One Hundred Rejections.com says that Beatrix sent her tale to six publishers, but was rejected by all of them because of the lack of colour pictures, which were popular at the time. She self-published Peter Rabbit in 1901 because she was fed up with rejection letters.
I can’t find where Barbara Kingsolver was rejected, but Barbara Kingsolver gives you great advice if you are rejected.
Barbara Kingsolver. The Poisonwood Bible is one of her best-selling novels. One Hundred Rejections.com says in “Famous Rejection #36: Barbara Kingsolver’s Advice” for writers about rejection is: “This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address.’ Just keep looking for the right address.”
Famous writers recovered from rejection, so can you. Submit again.
Here’s a three-week plan to get your manuscript, query, cover letter, and/or proposal in gear. Week 4 gets you to celebrate and write another story.
Week 1 Send manuscript off for final critique before submission. Choose publisher or agent. Print Guidelines.
Week 2 Write pitch, query, cover letter, proposal, etc. to make a good impression.
Week 3 Proof read everything. Submit this week.
Week 4 Celebrate life. Write another story.
27 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts updated August 17, 2014 Now has 27 publishers)
Good luck in your publication. Believe in you and your writing.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards
- Alex Haley,” Biography.com, A&E Television Networks, LLC, http://www.biography.com/people/alex-haley-39420#synopsis.
- Agatha Christie.com, Official Website of Agatha Christie, accessed August 14, 2014, http://www.agatha Christie.com.
- “Alex Haley,” A&E Television Networks, LLC, accessed August 14, 2014, http://www.biography.com/people/alex-haley-39420#synopsis.
- Alice Walker’s Garden.com, Official Website of Alice Walker, accessed August 14, 2014, http://alicewalkersgarden.com/.
- Anne Frank.org, accessed August 16, 2014, http://www.annefrank.org/.
- Best-Selling Books of All Time, Amazon.com, accessed August 14, 2014, http://www.amazon.com/Best-Selling-books-all-time/lm/RYEDDN1MFP4HQ.
- “Best Sellers Initially Rejected,” Literary Rejections.com, accessed August 14, 2014, http://www.literaryrejections.com/best-sellers-initially-rejected/.
- “Best-Selling Books,” Wikipedia, updated August 13, 2014(3:21), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books.
- “Biography,” Warhola.com, accessed August 16, 2014, http://www.warhola.com/biography.html.
- “Biography of Ayn Rand,” Gradesaver, LLC, http://www.gradesaver.com/author/ayn-rand/.
- David Oshinsky, “No, Thanks, Mr. Nabokov,” New York Times, September 9, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/books/review/Oshinsky-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&.
- Ed Pilkington. “Amanda Hocking, the writer who made millions by self-publishing online,” The Guardian, January 12, 2012 (15:00 EST), http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/jan/12/amanda-hocking-self-publishing.
- John Noonan. “On This Day Anne Frank’s Diary Published for the First Time,” http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/on-this-day/May-June-08/On-this-Day–Anne-Frank-s-Diary-Published-for-the-First-Time.html.
- Jessica Strawser. “Audrey Niffenegger Explains How To Create a Good Story,” Writers Digest.com, September 25, 2009, http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/write-first-chapter-get-started/niffenegger.
- Kyle Buchanan. “Meet Allan Loeb, the Most Prolific Screenwriter in Hollywood,” The Vulture, February 11, 2011(5:30 p.m.), http://www.vulture.com/2011/02/meet_allan_loeb_the_most_proli.html.
- “Life of Beatrix Potter,” Peter Rabbit.com, http://www.peterrabbit.com/en/beatrix_potter/beatrixs_life.
- “List of Prolific Writers,” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prolific_writers.
- “MoMA owns up to Warhol rejection letter from 1956,” LA Times, Culture Monster(blog), October 29, 2009 (2:42p.m.) http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/10/moma-owns-up-to-warhol-rejection-letter-from-1956.html.
- OneHundredRejections.com Staff. “One Hundred Famous Rejections, for Those Who Have Felt Rejection’s Cold Hand Slap Them across the Face,” accessed August 11, 2014, http://www.onehundredrejections.com/.
- “Ten Best-Selling Fiction Authors of All Time,” April 8, 2002, http://www.thepassivevoice.com/04/2012/the-ten-bestselling-fiction-authors-of-all-time/.
- “Top 50 Authors,” Celebrity Net Worth, accessed August 14, 2014, http://www.celebritynetworth.com/list/top-50-authors/.
- World of Amanda Hocking.com, accessed August 16, 2014, http://www.worldofamandahocking.com/
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Filed under: Marketing, Pub Sub 3rd Fri (Pub Subber), Writing | Tagged: Agatha Christie, Alex Haley, Alice Walker, Allen Loeb, Amanda Hocking, Andy Warhol, Anne Frank, Audrey Niffenegger, Ayn Rand, Barbara Kingsolver, Beatrix Potter, pub sub, Rejected - Submit Again Series, Writers who never gave up, writers who recovered from rejection | 17 Comments »