In my first few years as a full time writer, I used to tell people that I had enough rejections to wallpaper my toilet. Some years down the track I changed that to my entire lounge room. so, check out some of these rejections from famous authors. Writers, you are not alone.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (later Sorceror’s) Stone was rejected by a dozen publishers, including biggies like Penguin and HarperCollins. Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, only took it on at the behest of the CEO’s eight-year old daughter, who begged her father to print the book. God bless you, sweetheart.
Ursula K. Le Guin
One publisher sent this helpful little missive to Ms. Le Guin regarding her novel, The Left Hand of Darkness:
The book is so endlessly complicated by details of reference and information, the interim legends become so much of a nuisance despite their relevance, that the very action of the story seems to be to become hopelessly bogged down and the book, eventually, unreadable. The whole is so dry and airless, so lacking in pace, that whatever drama and excitement the novel might have had is entirely dissipated by what does seem, a great deal of the time, to be extraneous material. My thanks nonetheless for having thought of us. The manuscript of The Left Hand of Darkness is returned herewith.
The Left Hand of Darkness went on to win both the Hugo and the Nebula awards.
One publisher rejected Mr. Orwell's submission, Animal Farm, with these words:
It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.
Mr. Hillerman, now famous for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels, was initially told by publishers to
Get rid of all that Indian stuff.
One publisher exclaimed in the rejection letter for Mr. Faulkner's book, Sanctuary:
Good God, I can’t publish this!
Mr. Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected by a dozen publishers and 16 agents before breaking into print and launching Mr. Grisham's best-selling career.
Mr. Nabokov's Lolita was greeted by one publisher with these words:
…overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian…the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy. It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream…I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.
Clancy's comment: Keep on battling. Try to make them eat their words.