In fact, I was surprised to discover such blockbuster books received so many rejections. Take the examples below for instance:
- Kathryn Stockett's The Help was turned down 60 times before it became a best seller and a movie.
- Stephanie Meyer sent out 15 Twilight manuscripts, received nine rejections, five no responses, and one interested party.
- J. K. Rowling received 12 rejections for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
- Madeline L Engle's A Wrinkle in Time was turned down 29 times.
I could hardly believe the degrading comments that editors and agents wrote back about these future greats:
- A rejection letter to Pierre Roulle about his Bridge Over River Kwai said, A very bad read."
- H.G. Wells received these depressing words about The War of the Worlds. "An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would "take" ...I think the verdict would be 'Oh don't read that horrid book'."
- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold drew this comment: "(this book has) no future..."
- Someone in the publishing world said about Herman Melville's Moby Dick, "We regret to say that out united opinion is entirely against the book as we do not think it would be at all suitable for the Juvenile Market in (England). It is very long, rather old-fashioned..."
- Even Stephen King received this comment about Carrie. "We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell."
These rejections are words we all dread to hear in our pursuit of publication. And if these proven authors had let the beasts latch on and devour them, they would never have received recognition for their efforts.
So I ask you to join me. Plant solid footing, don your suit of impenetrable armor, and meet the beast head on—if it attacks. But remember, the most sure defense against those rejections that may come is to believe in yourself. You may have to improve, regroup, and re-enter the arena, but each step toward the unknown makes you stronger.