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You’re Good. Laugh at Your Rejections. (Happy 5th Birthday Blog)

Laugh at Your Rejections

“You’re Good. Laugh at Your Rejections (Happy 5th Birthday Blog)” by Joan Y. Edwards  FREE GIVEAWAY Chance. (Details after blog post)

This is the #3 in Series – Famous Writers Recovered from Rejection, So Can You. The series tells you about authors who made it, even though publishers rejected them. You can make it, too.

Gotham Writers Workshop gives you three tips for coping with rejection:

  1. Laugh at your rejections.
  2. Learn from your rejections.
  3. Always have a new project underway, something that will give you hope no matter how many rejections come your way for the previous project.

You may take some consolation in knowing the rejection history of the following  writers and works:

Edgar Allen Poe According to One Hundred Rejections.com, Harpers rejected “Folio Club Tales with the following note: “Readers in this country have a decided and strong preference for works (especially fiction) in which a single and connected story occupies the whole volume, or a number of volumes, as the case may be.” Poe kept trying and the next year this same publisher accepted his book for publication.

E. E. Cummings (e.e. cummings, Edward Estlin Cummings) wrote The Enormous Room and was unable to find a publisher. Cummings self-published much of his work and struggled financially. In the 1940s and 1950s, his style of writing became popular and he gave live readings before full houses.

Emily Dickinson When she was living, Emily Dickinson had 12 poems published after her publishers changed her wording to match the “accepted rhyming patterns of the day.” All the rest were rejected. Sadly, no one recognized Emily Dickinson’s genius during her lifetime. After her death, her sister found her poems and her first collection was published in 1890.

Emily Giffin wrote bestselling novels Something Borrowed and Something Blue. She had what Emily called a mean agent who just wrote a one-line, they all rejected it. They referred to eight New York city Publishers to whom the agent submitted . Her books, Something Borrowed and Something Blue were made into movies. Interview on Today.com: http://www.today.com/video/today/37130156#37130156

Ernest Hemingway didn’t like his publisher, Boni & Liveright. He purposely wrote a script he knew they would reject called “The Torrents of Spring.” As Heminway planned, Horace Liveright turned him down which broke his contract. Liveright said, “It would be in rotten taste to publish “The Torrents of Spring.” Then, Ernest found Scribner, who published all of his books and every book became a bestseller. Here are three: The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and A Farewell to Arms.

Frank Herbert wrote the Science Fiction book, Dune, after spending time in Florence, Oregon in 1953 to do a magazine article about a United States Department of Agriculture project to stabilize the dunes by planting beach grass. It changed the ecology of the dune areas and was very controversial. This inspired the setting for what Herbert called his “messiah story.”

By 1963, his agent submitted Dune for publication.Two years and 22 rejections later, a publisher accepted it. In the next 21 years, he published six Dune books, over thirty fiction and non-fiction books, and many magazine articles.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby. He received one big rejection that stated, “You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby character.”

Fitzgerald wrote a letter giving advice to a new writer. Every writer can learn from the wisdom of his words.

“You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner.”

George Orwell wrote Animal Farm After four rejections, Orwell’s novel was published in 1945. Five years later, a Russian émigré in West Germany, Vladimir Gorachek, published a small print in Russian to distribute free to readers behind the Iron Curtain. And in 1954, the CIA funded an animated adaptation of Animal Farm by John Halas and Joy Batchelor.

Gertrude Stein wrote poems for 22 years. Stein received a rejection letter from Arthur C.Fifeld, Publisher, London for her manuscript entitled, “Three Works.”

I think that Fifeld got carried away in his long rejection. I shortened it here: “I am only one, only one, only one. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one…Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one…returning the M.S. by registered post. Only one M.S. by one post.”

Her poetry was not well-read, but one line from it is well-remembered, “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. Loveliness extreme.” Nigel Rees says that the phrase in Stein’s poem Sacred Emily describes the artwork of the artist, Sir Francis Cyril Rose. She thought he made nature come alive. Here’s a picture painted by Sir Francis Cyril Rose.

Stein’s only bestseller was the story of her life told through the character named Toklas in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.

Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird and it won the Pulitzer Prize. She never got her other novels published.

Thank you for reading my blog. Today, October 9, 2014 is the fifth birthday of my blog. Thank you to one of my readers, Widdershins, who coined the phrase “Blogaversary.” So you could call say, “Happy 5th Blogaversary.”

There are other sites that list authors with rejections who never gave up. There are biography sites that you can research your favorite authors to find out how they overcame rejection. This is the last blog post in this series. I hope that reading about famous authors who were rejected and never gave up, inspires you to keep on going towards success in the publication of all your manuscripts.

Thank you for reading my blog and making it grow. I appreciate all of you. It is wonderful that you share my posts with your friends in your online communities: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and emails, etc.  Thank you.

Totals in Five Years – October 9, 2009 – October 9, 2014
Blog Posts 453
Reads 167,207
Highest Reads in One Day 980
Lowest Reads in One Day 1
Subscribers to blog 232
Subscribers to comments 99
Total Comments 4,467

Shares 2,212
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FREE GIVEAWAY to celebrate 5 wonderful years with you:

I am offering a free critique of the first 2000 words of a manuscript as a gift for responding with a comment on this blog post between now and midnight Friday, October 17, 2014. Random.org will choose the winner. I will announce the winner in a new post on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

Believe in you and your writing.
Celebrate all that you’ve accomplished: both the big steps and the little ones.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


232 Subscribers (Thank you.)

Please subscribe to Joan’s Never Give Up blog by email from the left-hand column. You’ll receive new blog posts filled with inspiration and information in your inbox as soon as she uploads them.

Never Give Up image
12 Affirmations for Writers.



17 Responses

  1. Every writer has faced rejection, and this is a great reminder. But really I came by to say happy blogaversary, it’s been great watching your journey.


  2. Dear Dianna,
    Thank you for writing. I have enjoyed having you with me on my journey! Thanks for being there with me.

    Celebrate you.
    Never Give Up


  3. Happy 5th Blog-O-versary! 🙂


    • Dear Widdershins,
      It is great to hear from you! I hope you are doing well. I didn’t spell Blog-0-versary like you. That looks pretty neat. Thanks.

      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up


  4. Joan, thank you for continuing to inspire and support writers.

    As your motto states, “Never give up!”



    • Dear Dr. Bob,
      It is good to hear from you. Thank you for saying that I inspire and support writers. I enjoy encouraging others to find ways to keep on going. I appreciate you for writing me.

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up


  5. Dear Joan,
    I just got another rejection last week, so this post is quite encouraging to read. You always are a bundle of encouragement, in fact! Happy 5th blogaversary!


    • Dear Megan,
      Thank you for writing. I am sorry that a publisher or agent rejected your work. What a bummer! Don’t let the dust settle. Send it out again. Thank you for wishing me a Happy Blogaversary! Thanks for riding along with me.

      Celebrate your courage.
      Never Give Up!


  6. Happy Happy 5th Blogaversary!!!! Thank YOU for sharing such wonderful knowledge and inspiration in all your posts! Love your posts and love you 🙂


    • Dear Kathleen,
      Thank you for writing. Thanks for sharing in my excitement about the 5th Blogaversary of my Never Give Up blog! I appreciate your good wishes. I bow humbly and proudly that you believe I share wonderful knowledge and inspiration in all of my posts!

      I love you, Kathleen Burkinshaw! You are a blessing to me.

      Never Give Up


      • You are a Blessing in my life as well 🙂


        • Dear Kathleen,
          Thank you.

          Never Give Up


  7. Yay to you, Joan! Yay to your blogaversary! Yay for your stats and followers! Wowzers! You give away so many great critique prizes. What a happy day. Growing stronger and celebrating stronger too! Can you tell I’m happy for you?


    • Dear Linda,
      Thank you for writing and for celebrating with me. I am very excited to have reached my five-year blogaversary! It has been fun interacting with you, my most loyal reader and follower, along with the other 233 loyal readers and followers. If all of us got together in a restaurant to eat together to celebrate, we might have to eat in shifts and have an open house! It is fun to visualize that! One thing about doing that virtually, it doesn’t cost anything and is still fun, fun, fun. Thank you for saying that I am getting stronger and celebrating stronger, too. Here go a thousand balloons! Red, Teal, and White!

      Enjoy your day.
      Never Give Up
      Love, Joan


  8. Joan, Thanks for the reminder that even the best writers were once (and maybe still are) rejected. All it takes is one agent to love it. I just discovered your blog through SCBWIC and look forward to reading it. Congratulations on your fifth anniversary!


    • Dear Ann,
      Thanks for writing. Thanks for subscribing. I’m glad you found my blog through SCBWI-Carolinas. You’re right. It only takes one agent or one publisher to love your story! I wish you good luck in achieving your publication dreams!

      Never Give Up

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Honored Readers and Commenters,
    There were seven people who left a comment:
    1. Dianna Gunn
    2. Widdershins
    3. Dr. Bob. Rich
    4. Megan Vance – Happy in Him
    5. Kathleen Burkinshaw
    6. Linda Martin Andersen
    7. Ann Stawski

    Random.org chose number 5; therefore, Kathleen Burkinshaw won a free critique of 2,000 words of one of her manuscripts.

    I’ll upload a new post to announce her as the winner. You can post responses there.

    Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. I appreciate you! You give me life.

    Never Give Up


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