Thought I’d blog today on a just a few of the many famous authors who have had to deal with rejection letters. Lucky for all of us they persisted. (My high school English lit class certainly wouldn’t have been the same without Lord of the Flies and poor old ‘Piggy.’)
Steven King: “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.” (Apparently King keeps his many rejection letters nailed to a plank with a metal spike.)
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was described as “dull” and “rubbish.”
Vladimir Nabokov’a Lolita received this critique from a publisher: “Overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian…the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy. It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream…I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.”
And Tony Hillerman was told by his agent to “get rid of the Indian stuff.”
Other famous rejections:
John Grisham’s A Time to Kill — rejected by 16 publishers (not to mention his agent).
Richard Adams Watership Down –rejected by 13 publishers.
Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull –26 rejections
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance –121 rejections
The Princess Diaries –17 publisher rejections
Gone with the Wind: 38 rejections
And of course, perhaps the most famous of them all: Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, rejected by a dozen publishers, including Penguin and HarperCollins. I’d love to know how many agents turned that one down, too.
For a more complete list of famous rejections, read this great blog by Schuler Books. And start looking for a spike.