Tuesday, February 12, 2013

50 Iconic Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected

Whether students are struggling writers, or just studying to be one at accredited online colleges, they probably know that there's a lot of rejection in their futures. Whether you are aiming for a technical program or bachelor’s degree, you will more than likely come to a point where your hard work isn’t quite good enough. But don't be dismayed, rejection happens even to the best. Here are 50 well-respected writers who were told no several times, but didn't give up.
  1. Dr. Seuss: Here you'll find a list of all the books that Dr. Seuss' publisher rejected.
  2. William Golding: William Golding's Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times before becoming published.
  3. James Joyce: James Joyce's Ulysses was judged obscene and rejected by several publishers.
  4. Isaac Asimov: Several of Asimov's stories were rejected, never sold, or eventually lost.
  5. John le Carre: John le Carre's first novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, was passed along because le Carre "hasn't got any future."
  6. Jasper Fforde: Jasper Fforde racked up 76 rejections before getting The Eyre Affair published.
  7. William Saroyan: William Saroyan received an astonishing 7,000 rejection slips before selling his first short story.
  8. Jack Kerouac: Some of Kerouac's work was rejected as pornographic.
  9. Joseph Heller: Joseph Heller wrote a story as a teenager that was rejected by the New York Daily News.
  10. Kenneth Grahame: The Wind in the Willows was not intended to be published, and was rejected in America before appearing in England.
  11. James Baldwin: James Baldwin’s Giovanni's Room was called "hopelessly bad."
  12. Ursula K. Le Guin: An editor told Ursula K. Le Guin that The Left Hand of Darkness was "endlessly complicated."


Kathy White said...

I read that a publisher rejected Animal Farm because they didn't want books about animals : )

Gordon Dryden said...

Actually, Dr Seuss’s “To Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street” (his first book) was rejected by 27 publishers. He was about to quit and destroy it when he ran into a wartime colleague in a New York avenue soon after the second world war. Exchanging updates, Seuss (Ted Geisel) found out out his colleague had just been made Children’s Editor of a prominent publisher. The rest is history. The full “Beginner Books” series, mostly created by Ted, sold around 200 million copies. The 25 best-selling Seuss books are now available in interactive digital formats, on both Apple and Android app stores.
On his New Zealand tour in the seventies, Ted and Audrey dined at our home after a three-hour radio interview in the studio that was then part of Gordon Dryden’s Book Corner, now Whitcoulls’ main Auckland bookstore.

Ted hated to talk publicly about how he created children’s books, but he was an expert on U.S politics, so we compromised. I interviewed him on American politics, and interspersed this with my own readings of Seuss children’s books.

A few days later I received this handwritten letter, from the Travelodge in Queenstown:

Dear Gordon: You not only serve your guests fine Chinese food, and run a neat fine radio program in a great bookshop, but you would make an excellent President of the United States. And if both the Democratic and Republican Conventions are deadlocked this year I will personally nominate you as the compromise candidate for both parties.


The Cat in the Hat
For Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel)

Graham Beattie said...

Thanks Gordon.
I travelled with Ted & Audrey for part of that tour in the 70's including staying with them at the Wairakei Hotel. Ted had been taken out trout fishing and had caught a trout so that night on the menu for our table was Trout a la Seuss.
I received a similar letter to you but sadly it was written in blue fountain pen ink and has completely faded.Later in that week I conducted a series of 5 five minute interviews with him at Avalon for TVNZ.