Some Comfort for Some 1

Did you see this?
I’m not in the category of the authors below, but Kris just read this post and reminded me that Jesus Creed was rejected by five publishers before it was published. What kind of rejections have spurred you onwards?

Happens To The Best Of Us: Famous Author Rejection Letters

Check out these excerpts from REAL famous author rejections:

  1. Sylvia Plath: There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.
  2. Rudyard Kipling: I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.
  3. J. G. Ballard: The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.
  4. Emily Dickinson: [Your poems] are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.
  5. Ernest Hemingway (regarding The Torrents of Spring): It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.

Obviously, these famous author rejection letter phrases have gone down in history for how outrageous they seem to us now. The comments probably had more to do with the mood of the person writing them than with the quality of work.

It seems odd to us now that Plath, Kipling, Ballard, Dickinson, and Hemingway were rejected so cruelly. But these comments show us that famous author rejection letters are no different thannot-so-famous author rejection letters!

Thank goodness these authors kept writing and submitting. Ask yourself: Where would we be if they had given up? We would have missed a lot of important literature!

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  • Very interesting. I found a website that provides examples of 50 famously successful people who failed at first. Here is the link:

  • Having read Crash had have to say that #3 is a valid assessment. But nonetheless shouldn’t have been a reason to reject such a brilliant writer.

  • James Chang

    Dear Scott,

    Hey, I’ve got a question for you. In your NIV Application commentary on 1 Peter, page 21, you review the 3 views on how Christians are to interact with society and culture: Separatists, Reformists, and the Lutheran view. Under the Lutheran view, you quote Noll who states: “If, in fact, there is a difference between God in relation to the individual and God in relation to the world, then a failure to observe the structural and systemic differences between personal moral vision and comprehensive public crusade becomes an important matter.” This statement is confusing to me. Could you help elaborate on this point?

    Our church is doing a teaching series in 1 Peter right now, I’m reading through your commentary now, and I’d really appreciate some extra details here!



  • I was recently told by a blind peer reviewer that if he/she understood my position correctly, it was “morally abhorrent.” The article was given a “revise and resubmit” status, and after revising and resubmitting it, it was accepted for publication by the journal. Interestingly, I never did alter the part that the reviewer considered “morally abhorrent,” so I guess the editor either didn’t agree with the reviewer or figured it was OK to publish morally abhorrent views!