Dealing With Author Rejection
You can do it.
You are an author. You just need to get your book finished and get it out there. However, like all of us, doubt has seeped into the cracks of your foundation.
Maybe others have said you couldn’t do it. Perhaps they told you there was no use in trying. Maybe they even gave you a few reasons you shouldn’t write your book.
All the great ideas have already been done
You’re not a writer
Nobody reads anymore
You’re a boring person who can’t possibly have anything of interest to write
There are a million and one reasons not to write – if you dwell on the negative.
However, there are also a million and one reasons you should.
You have it in you. Despite predictions otherwise, books aren’t going anywhere. They might change format a bit as eBooks and podcasts increase in popularity. However, a story is a story, no matter the format. You are a writer, dammit.
We are all unique, each of us with a story burning inside us. Whether you have one story or 100, there is something in you yearning to be freed.
It burns. You beg it to quiet. Sometimes it listens, sometimes it doesn’t. However, even in its hush you know it is there.
Do want to live the rest your life wondering what could have been?
I hope the answer is no. Life is too short for clipped wings and broken dreams.
William Faulkner was told, “Good God, I can’t publish this!”
Lord of the flies, the landmark allegory on the failure of man-made society, was referred to as, “An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”
“It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA,” they said to George Orwell.
The eight-year-old daughter of a small London publisher’s CEO is the only reason we got to read “Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone,” a book that had been rejected by 12 other publishers already. How much do you want to bet those 12 people cry themselves to sleep every night for missing out on the most successful series in forever?
Original consideration for “The Diary of Anne Frank” was, implausibly enough, that “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift interest above the curiosity level.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”
Yes, Rudyard Kipling.
The turn-of-the-century literary blockbuster, “War of the Worlds,” by H.G. Wells, was “An endless nightmare,” and Wells’ other book, The Time Machine, was considered “not interesting enough for the general reader.”
Moving into modern days, Judy Blume, one of the most influential children’s authors of all time, received nothing but rejections for two years straight. And one of my favorite books growing up, Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” was turned down 26 times before someone said yes. “A Wrinkle in Time” went on to win the Newberry medal in 1963.
Two of the most successful authors of the twentieth century, Stephen King and John Grisham both had difficulty getting to print. Before “Carrie,” King was told, “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.” Of course, millions of readers proved that prognostication wrong. Grisham went through 16 agents and a dozen publishers before finding success with “A Time to Kill.”
And my favorite rejection of all time?
Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel, who I consider to be the finest children’s author ever, had his first book, “And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street” rejected 27 times before finally being deemed worthy for ink. An excerpt from just one of his many rejection letters reads, “This is too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”
Things whisper inside us for a reason.
Sometimes it’s okay to ignore the murmur as passing fancy or a maybe someday. However, other times the whisper is right, even if everyone else is wrong. Sometimes the whisper is insistent for a reason.
Write the book inside you.
We can’t wait to read it.