vMost writers get rejected before they begin to sell. Even after you’ve published something, you can still get rejected. Every book must stand on its own. Only Stephen King, Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts can sell anything they write.
But don’t take rejection personally. It might have come from a female editor whose husband just dumped her. Or a male editor whose ex-wife has the same name as your heroine. Or they had a cold that day. Or the sun was shining. If your story is good, it will find a home eventually. My novel SOUTHERN STAR was rejected nineteen times before Avalon Books bought it two years ago.
AUNTIE MAME was rejected sixteen times. LUST FOR LIFE was rejected seventeen times. THE GINGER MAN was rejected thirty-six times. All of those books were published and are so well-known I didn’t even have to mention the authors’ names.
Pearl Buck’s novel, THE GOOD EARTH, was rejected thirty-one times before it sold, and then it won the Pulitzer Prize. One publisher said, “The American public is not interested in anything about China.”
Of Joseph Heller’s CATCH 22, a rejection letter said, “This is a continual and unmitigated bore.”
Tony Hillerman’s first book got this one. “If you insist on rewriting this, take out all that Indian stuff.”
Of John LeCarre’s novel, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, an editor wrote, ”You’re welcome to Le Carre. He hasn’t any future.”
And then Sol Stein received this rejection letter from an editor in China. “We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. Were we to publish your story, it would be impossible for us to publish in the future any work of a low standard. And, as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years, we shall see its equal, we are, to our great regret, compelled to return your divine composition and beg you, a thousand times. to overlook our shortsightedness, temerity and lack of imagination.”
Have you had any unusual rejection letters? Come and share.
Pearl Buck, Tony Hillerman,
Joseph Heller, John LeCarre,
Stephen King, Danielle Steel,