Tuesday, September 11

Rejection

Ever been rejected? Well, welcome to a very esteemed club. According to a remarkable story in the New York Times, Anne Frank, Pearl Buck, George Orwell, Jorge Luis Borges, Isaac Bashevis Singer, A. J. P. Taylor, Barbara Tuchman, Vladimir Nabokov, and James Baldwin were all rejected by the zealously discriminating editors at Knopf before going on to become mega-bestselling authors. Maybe there is still hope for your “great American novel” after all.

3 comments:

Short Thoughts said...

Very interesting. Any words of advice on getting that "great American novel" published?

W. Mark Whitlock said...

I'll always remember Stephen King's nail. When he first started submitting stories to magazines, he drove a 2 1/2 inch nail into a stud in the attic of his house. As the rejection letters came in, he would poke them on the nail. The nail was more than half full before he got a significant paycheck.

One agent I know encourages young writers to wallpaper their offices with their rejection letters. He says, "Don't give up until the walls are fully covered."

Austin Storm said...

The article neglects to mention Madeleine L'Engle, who died this week. Her first book, the beloved children's classic "A Wrinkle in Time", was rejected 26 times before it found a home at Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.