Friday, March 12, 2010

0 Putting Rejections in Perspective

Some of my favorite books were rejected multiple times:
  • Madeleine L'Engle stacked up 26 rejections for A Wrinkle in Time
  • Richard Adams was rejected 26 times for Watership Down
  • Dr. Seuss received 24 rejections for his first book
  • Richard Bach collected 20 rejections for Jonathan Livingston Seagull
  • Meg Cabot got 17 rejections for The Princess Diaries
Some of the rejections received by authors of amazing books put form letters into a whole new perspective:
  • An editor at the San Francisco Examiner wrote to Rudyard Kipling: 'you don’t know how to use the English language.'
  • A letter rejecting the The Diary of Anne Frank described Anne as without 'a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the “curiosity” level.'
  • And a rejection received by Kenneth Grahame for the classic The Wind in the Willows called it 'an irresponsible holiday story.'
And my favorite:
Most honorable Sir,
We perused your MS.
with boundless delight. And
we hurry to swear by our ancestors
we have never read any other
that equals its mastery.
Were we to publish your work,
we could never presume again on
our public and name
to print books of a standard not up to yorus.
For we cannot imagine
that the next ten thousand years
will offer its ectype.
We must therefore refuse
your work that shines as if it were in the sky
and beg you a thousand times
to pardon our fault
which impairs but our own offices.
Chin up, everyone! Clearly, the problem isn't always with the story or the writing. Timing, in publishing as in life, is nearly everything. But if you keep writing, improving your craft, and submitting, the timing will eventually work in your favor. Or so I choose to believe!


The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile  by Noah Lukeman
Rejections of the Written Famous by Joyce Spizer
Famous Rejections by Suzie Smith
Rotten Rejections from Writer's Services
Writers and Rejection: Don't Give Up by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

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