Ready to throw in the towel? Consider a few well-known writers who didn’t.
Feel glum over oodles of rejection letters? Get this:
- John Grisham’s first novel was rejected 25 times.
- Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) received 134 rejections.
- Beatrix Potter had so much trouble publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she initially had to self-publish it.
- Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) received 121 rejections before it was published and went on to become a best seller.
- Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted.
- Judy Blume, beloved by children everywhere, received rejections for two straight years.
- Madeline L’Engle received 26 rejections before getting A Wrinkle in Time published—which went on to win the Newberry Medal and become one of the best-selling children’s books of all time.
- Frank Herbert’s Dune was rejected 20 times before being published and becoming a cult classic.
- Margaret Mitchell (Gone With The Wind) was rejected over 30 times before her book was published.
And if that weren’t enough, there’s this tantalizing tidbit about the man believed to be the world’s most rejected novelist:
Author Dick Wimmer passed away on May 18, 2011, at 74 years old. He received 160+ rejections over 25 years! He spent a quarter of a century being told “no.”
He could have quit after 20 years, or 150 rejections, and no one would have blamed him. But he kept at it (maybe he had his own list of famous author rejection letters to keep him going!).
Finally, his novel Irish Wine (Mercury House, 1989) was published to positive reviews. The New York Times called it a “taut, finely written, exhaustingly exuberant first novel.”
Assuming the author’s submissions were well-targeted, how could 160+ people have passed over Wimmer’s book? And what does that mean for YOUR writing career?
Wimmer’s self-proclaimed legacy is of being the “most rejected novelist,” but we think his legacy is hope and persistence.
And never give up!