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! 🙂


Famous authors who self published…

Hey everyone,

I thought I would write a post about self publishing and authors. I have come to know more and more about famous authors who self published and I think that we need to remove the stigma that is attached to self publishing.

I do believe that authors need to do the necessary editing and design for their self published books but a stigma simply because you self publish should go. At times in their lives famous authors have chosen to self publish as they believed in their work and wanted to get it out there. Some of these were extremely successful for example:

Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens paid the printer to produce the book and by Christmas 1843 it was the most successful book of the season. It sold six thousand copies and continued to sell into the following year. Within two months of the book’s publication, eight stage adaptations were produced.

Beatrix Potter – Peter Rabbit:
On December 16, 1901, a 35-year-old writer and illustrator printed 250 copies of her first book, about the wicked Peter Rabbit. After being rejected from many publishers Beatrix Potter decided to take control of her career.
She published The Tale of Peter Rabbit which included 41 black and white woodblock engravings and one colour illustration. This book proved so successful that, within a year, it was accepted by one of the publishers who had turned it down.
By the end of 1902, Frederick Warne had sold 20,000 copies of the book, with Potter’s own watercolour illustrations. But Potter didn’t stop there in 1903 she again took her career into her own hands and published The Tailor of Gloucester.

Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)

Hemingway self-published his first collection, Three Stories and Ten Poems, during his first tour as a journalist in Paris (1923).

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

Although he was already a published essayist, he self-published Walden in 1854.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf, an English writer she is considered to be one of the most important female writers. She married the writer Leonard Woolf in 1912, and the two founded Hogarth Press in 1917. This publisher also published works by T. S. Eliot and Laurens vander Post.

Many of Woolf’s essays, short stories and novels that are now held in such high esteem were hand printed through this press. Virginia and Leonard wanted to publish books that commercial publishers may not choose to publish.

She was also published by Duckworth Press (the owner being her half brother), but it was believed she toned down her content for this publisher. Woolf wanted books to become a thing of beauty.

Ulysses, by James Joyce (1882-1941)

James Joyce self published Ulysses, which is considered one of the best novels ever

Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) was not only a writer but also an entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer. Twain was already somewhat famous when he turned to self-publishing in 1884. He created a firm called Charles L. Webster & Co, after being unhappy with his previous publishers. Twain sought to earn a dual income as author and publisher and his first two American publications, The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin 1885) and the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (1885) were extremely successful.

Margaret Atwood

Atwood, a Canadian poet, novelist (The Handmaid’s Tale), literary critic, essayist, and environmental activist, and winner and shortlisted for many writing awards, in late 1961, she won the E. J. Pratt Medal for her self published book of poems, Double Persephone.

There are many more famous self published authors, but I have not included them all. I am not saying that we will all be famous and successful, but it is time to realise self publishing is not a thing to be ashamed of. Let’s seek to produce the best books we can and also I am with Virginia Woolf make them a beautiful piece of art. 🙂 Thanks for reading. 🙂

My two books below: