J.K Rowling was famously rejected by 12 major publishers before Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was accepted by Bloomsbury – and even then only at the insistence of the chairman’s eight-year-old daughter.
Other famous writers who got many, many times rejections from publishers before they hit it big:
- Stephen King
- John Le Carre
- Anne Frank
- J.K. Rowling
- George Orwell
- William Faulkner
- John Grisham
- Irving Stone
- R. Kipling
- Marcel Proust
Just in the USA, over 600,000 titles have being published by roughly 500 publishers last year. If you want a proper publishing deal, you will have to go after those 500 – along with hundreds of thousands of other writers. A rejection from these publishers doesn’t mean anything, other than they just don’t have the time to read all of the millions of book proposals they receive during the year. This is just a number’s game.
Other reasons your manuscript may be rejected”
- It doesn’t fit into the publishers line
- The publisher has taken on too many books
- They might merge soon and don’t take on new books
- They might go out of business
- The editor doesn’t like it personally etc.
Writers must develop a coping strategy (a thick skin) for dealing with book rejections. It is an inevitable consequence of submissions, whether you are sending out articles or book proposals. Don’t take it personally! Apart from that, publishers are really sometimes “wrong” – in the sense that often they say no when they should say yes and sometimes they say yes when they will wish they’d said no.
30 famous authors whose works were rejected (repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers can be found in this article by Examiner.com
Rejections also can have a positive side.
They may make you dig deeper, opening up more and better markets, as well as other opportunities – think e-books and self-publishing. Remember this too: if an editor rejects a piece of yours with a short note, take it as BIG encouragement. If the editor also tells you why he / she declined your submission, fix the deficiencies and re-submit it. This response signals your readiness to revise and try again, as well as perhaps the beginning of a business relationship.
For you, the poor author trying to deal with another rejection, remember what Frank Sinatra once said: ”The best revenge is massive success.”
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