10 great authors who were rejected by publishers

Blog post - 2 800x200 (3)

Dr. Seuss

Image Source: Nocookie.net

Everyone’s favorite children’s author, Dr. Seuss Is a testament to how important luck is to success. His first book ‘And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street’ was rejected a whopping 27 times before being published.

CS Lewis

Grand Tetons
Image Source: Commonvision.org

When you browse the World Wide Web for CS Lewis, one of the first search results that appear relate state the great author was rejected 800 times. Although this fact is way off the mark, this does not mean that he never faced rejection.

At the beginning of his career, he wrote under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton and Macmillan Publishers initially rejected his work ‘Spirits In Bondage’.

John Le Carre

Image Source: Standard.Co.Uk

The only espionage novelist who is more renowned than him is  Ian Fleming. However, the holder of an honorary doctorate from the University Of Oxford did not hit the ground running.

When the former spy first attempted to get published, he was brutally rejected. A letter later surfaced addressed by one of the publishers he had sent this manuscript to which stated, ‘You’re welcome to Le Carre, he hasn’t got any future’. He proved them wrong when he hit the big time with his novel ‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold’ and hasn’t looked back since.

J.D. Salinger

Image Source: NBC

The author was told by his publishers that they felt like they ‘didn’t know the central character well enough’. This prompted him to go back to the drawing board and re-write. When his book was finally released, his protagonist, Holden Caulfield, became an icon of teenage angst and alienation. Salinger’s book, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, sold more than 65 million copies!

Louisa May Alcott

Image Source: Wikimedia

When she was told by publishers to “stick to teaching,” this champion of feminism, refused to give up on her dreams. It’s been140 years now, and her magnum opus ‘Little Women’ continues to be one of the greatest literary works with themes of female vocation and individuality.

Zane Grey

Image Source: Britannica

He was once told by a publisher that he had no business being an author and that he should simply “just give up”. Not being the one to give up, he continued pursuing his dreams and his works, today, are considered a basis for the Western genre in literature and arts. He is believed to have sold more than 250 million books.

Meg Cabot

Source: WSJ

She kept 3 years of rejection letters in a bag, beneath her bed. Instead of giving up, she continued sending her manuscript till a publisher finally took a chance on her. Till date, ‘The Princess Diaries’ has sold more than 15 million copies and has also been adapted into a movie.

John Grisham

Image Source: Famousauthors.com

Grisham’s book ‘A Time to Kill’ was rejected by 16 literary agencies and 12 publishers. When it was finally released, it became a best seller, selling almost 250 million copies.

Gertrude Stein

Image Source: Littlepicklepress.com

After a particularly lengthy rant, a publisher told Stein that “hardly one copy would sell”. We now remember her as a literary innovator and pioneer of Modernist literature.

Anne Frank

Image Source: Mentalfloss.com

Everyone knows about the horrors of the Holocaust though her book, ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’. But, did you know that it was dismissed by a publisher who said that the girl didn’t seem to have a “special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the curiosity level”.





The Penguin India Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s