A Short History of Rejections for When You’re Feeling Rejected
1) Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 144 times before it was picked up and became a runaway best-selling book.
2) Madeleine L’ Engle’s novel, A Wrinkle In Time was rejected 29 times.
3) Lisa Genova’s novel, Still Alice, was rejected more than 100 times, and she went to self-publish, carrying books in the trunk of her car. Her book then went on to be a best-seller and a popular movie starring Julianne Moore, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Alice.
4) The Tale of Peter Rabbit was turned down so many times, Beatrix Potter eventually self-published the beloved story.
5) Ursula LeGuin’s novel The Left Hand of Darkness was rejected as being “endlessly complicated…hopelessly bogged down…and unreadable.”
6) Kathryn Stockett’s novel, The Help was rejected from 60 agents before it was picked and turned into a best-selling novel and film.
7) One of Louisa May Alcott’s rejections of Little Women, included this quip: “Stick to teaching.”
8) In response to Moby Dick, Peter J. Bentley, of Bentley & Son Publishing, asked Herman Melville, “Does it have to be a whale?”
9) Alex Haley’s Roots was rejected 200 consecutive times.
10) Shel Silverstein had a difficult time publishing The Giving Tree, which he was told would never sell.
11) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was rejected so many times that author L. Frank Baum started keeping track in a journal he called A Record of Failures.
12) Harry Potter was famously rejected by nearly a dozen publishers before one agent’s 8 year-old daughter devoured the book and demanded more. Only then was it picked up. What if that 8 year-old had been napping??
13) The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, was described as “An irresponsible holiday story that will never sell.” And then, it sold 25 million copies worldwide.
14) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig, is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most number of rejections for a best selling book (121 rejections).
15) Meg Cabot, who wrote The Princess Diaries, collected so many rejection letters, she kept them in a bag under her bed that eventually grew enough she could not lift it. Her book eventually sold 15 million copies.
16) Jason Wallace’s Out of Shadows is rejected 100 times by literary agents and publishers, before it is taken on and wins the Costa Book Award in 2008.
17) James Patterson’s novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, was rejected by 31 publishers in a row, then went on to become a best-selling novel. Patterson went on to write 19 books in a row that landed on the best sellers list.
18) Kate DiCamillo racked up a staggering 473 rejection letters in six years before she published her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie.
(Thanks to Darlene Pagan for this inspiring list)