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Rejection? Bring It On!

September 5, 2011

Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, never give up.” That could apply to all facets of life, but it especially applies to the world of publishing. Most writers dream of being published. However, their sugar-coated dreams are haunted by the ghosts of possible rejection. A big, fat “NO” can crush inspirations and ambitions. Luckily, for us fellow readers, the following authors never gave up or let being rejected (dozens of times!) stop them from reaching their goals of being published. Today, their once-rejected manuscripts are globally considered as masterpieces!  


 “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” by Dr. Seuss was rejected by more than 20 publishers. Once published, Dr. Seuss was challenged to write a book based on a list of 400 words a first-grader should know. Thus, “Cat in the Hat” was born! Today Dr. Seuss is known as one of the most recognizable and loved children’s writers. His books have sold more than 2 million copies and have been translated into 15 languages. During his lifetime, Dr. Seuss was awarded with two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and a Peabody Award.


“Chicken Soup for the Soul” by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen was rejected 140 times. Talk about perseverance! Now there are over 100 books in the series, which are translated into over 50 languages with over 100 million copies in print.


“M*A*S*H” by Richard Hooker was the popular TV series that ran 11 seasons with Alan Alda as Captain Pierce and Jamie Farr as Corporal Klinger. What most people don’t realize is that the TV show was inspired by the film, which was inspired by the novel about a medical unit serving in the Korean War. The novel by Richard Hooker was rejected 21 times! (By the way, “M*A*S*H” stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.)


“Carrie” by Stephen King was the horror guru’s first published novel. However, it had 30 rejections before it was published. Now King has sold 350 million copies of his 49 published novels, many of which have become feature films or television movies (scaring the living daylights out of most of us!).


“Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell was the only book she ever published, and it won her a Pulitzer Prize in 1937. However, the book was originally rejected 38 times. The movie version was released in 1939 starring the hunky Clark Gable and beautiful Vivien Leigh and won 10 Academy Awards (it is also the highest grossing film of all time, considering inflation).


“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling was rejected by over a dozen publishers. Of course … we know the ending of this story. Seven books and movies later, Rowling is a very, very wealthy author.


“Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer was ignored by five publishers and rejected by nine. Now it’s turned into a “saga,” complete with movies, screaming teens, t-shirts, and Burger King dolls. Vampires were never so popular and rivalries between Edward and Jacob never so fierce.


“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding was called “uninteresting” and “absurd.” Now it is hailed by Time magazine as one of the top 100 novels ever written, and it earned Golding a Nobel Prize.


To all aspiring writers out there—when you need a little pick-me-up, consider these success stories and realize that you, too, may have the next classic piece of literature. If you are striving for publication, press on and never quit! With every rejection, you are closer than ever to being published.


 Sources: 1, 2, 3

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2011 10:01 am

    Thanks for the encouragement, Christi! I will definitely keep these books in mind as I pursue my dreams!!!

    • September 5, 2011 12:56 pm

      I have a friend who is a published writer who encourages other writers to make it their goal to get a rejection once a month. That means you are keeping up with writing and putting yourself out there!

  2. Ashley Kerth permalink
    September 5, 2011 3:44 pm

    Can you guess which book is my favorite on the list? Here’s a hint…. TEAM EDWARD! 🙂

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