Rejection experienced by famous authors

Hello everyone,

I think it is good to remember that famous authors received rejection many times before they were successful. So I wanted to share some recent knowledge I gained about this topic. Let’s look at these authors’ experiences so we can take heart and persevere.


JK Rowling: …she was a single mother with very little money, and writing Harry Potter took her six years. In 1995 she sent it out to publishers and was rejected 12 times. Before it was finally picked up by Bloomsbury. Now her books have sold 400 million copies worldwide. Even later in her career JK Rowling wrote some crime novels under the pen name Robert Galbraith and she received numerous rejections letters including someone telling her she should take a writing course. Now the crime series is now being made into a television show.

Stephen King: …was a teacher living in a trailer with his wife and small children. His wife encouraged him to keep writing. Stephen King received 30 rejections before Doubleday bought Carrie for $2500 advance. His book sold 13,000 copies in hardback and he continued his day job, until one day the paperback rights were sold for $400,000. Today his books have sold more than 350 million copies.

Kenneth Graham: …(The Wind in the Willows)  his book was rejected as “An irresponsible holiday story that will never sell.” This book later became a best-selling children’s tale.

John Le Carre: a publisher was once known to have written: “You’re welcome to le Carré—he hasn’t got any future.”  This was sent by one publisher to another about John le Carré and his third novel, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, later this became an international best seller.

Louise May Alcott: was told to “stick to teaching.” She rejected this criticism of Little Women and it was published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, and remains a classic nearly 150 years later.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: was told to get rid of the Great Gatsby: “You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby character.” Suggested about The Great Gatsby in my opinion a masterpiece of modern fiction.

Let’s take heart that many famous authors and authors of amazing talent and vision were rejected so perseverance is a necessary quality in a writer, as is a stubborn and unwavering belief in what you are writing. Go well, and embrace your project, accept criticism if you feel it is important but other criticism may need to be regarded differently. That is for each author/writer to decide for themselves. Either way, perseverance and a focused, stubborn determination is required. Go well, keep writing! 🙂


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