A while back, I wrote a post urging budding writers to take a moment to overlook the often pessimistic view of ‘making it’ and look instead on the bright side for once. As a means of encouragement, I shared a number of examples where well-known books or authors pushed past hardships and rejection to reach the dizzying heights of success. It went down pretty well, and in the interest of spreading a little more positivity, I decided to follow it up with a few more cases.
- George Orwell was told that there would not be a market for his now classic book, Animal Farm.
- In a rejection letter for one of his books, John le Carré was told he “did not have a future” in writing.
- The iconic, world renowned book, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank was rejected 15 times before a publisher agreed to distribute it.
- Dr Seuss was told his work was “too different” to find a place in the market. He went on to become the 9th best-selling author of all time.
- The War of the Worlds was described as a “horrid book” but has never been out of publication since it was first released in 1898.
- Despite leading a troubled life and battling with ongoing mental illness, Virginia Woolf produced some of the most celebrated works of fiction in the English language.
- Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language properly. His work, The Jungle Book, is now one of the most recognisable stories of a generation.
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov was rejected by 5 publishers, who feared backlash for its controversial content.
- C.S. Lewis was repeatedly rejected for years but persisted regardless. The Chronicles of Narnia became a global phenomenon and has so far been translated into 47 different languages.
- Bestselling author James Patterson was turned away by 12 publishers before securing an agent.
- Veronica Roth became a best-selling author with the widely popular Divergent trilogy and had already secured a massive multi-movie deal by her early 20s.
- The cultural smash hit, Chicken Soup for the Soul, was turned down a whopping 140 times before it was picked up.
- A cutting rejection letter claimed The Wind in the Willows would “never sell”. It has since sold more than 25 million copies.
- Fearing her work would not be taken seriously, Mary Anne Evans decided to take on a pseudonym. Under her male pen-name, George Eliot, she solidified herself in the literature Hall of Fame, with her novels still discussed and enjoyed hundreds of years later.
There you have it; another glimpse into the lighter side of the seemingly cut-throat world of publishing. Work hard and keep chasing your dreams; success could be right around the corner.
Such an inspiring post.
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Thank you! I’m happy to spread a little positivity.
Reblogged this on Brett P. S..
The one thing they all have in common is perseverance and passion for what they do. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of that 🙂
My pleasure 🙂
Thanks for the reminders! I’m twiddling my thumbs (and writing new stuff) as I wait to hear back from editors and agents who expressed initial interest in some of my manuscripts – and while I wait, others keep sending rejections. It can get a little gloomy – but I’m gripping onto hope! And in good company, as you have reminded me.
Every rejection takes you one query closer to the one that says yes. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you and wish you the best of luck 🙂
Great post, it is always good to remind yourself of these things sometimes. It can be difficult to continue to have faith in yourself and your writing sometimes. I always have moments of panic when I wonder if I am completely rubbish and kidding myself on, but I always tell myself that I would write anyway and you just have to persevere. Thanks for the positive messages – much appreciated!
I think we all have those moments of self-doubt. It’s always nice to put it into perspective by reminding ourselves that even the world’s best writers will also have undoubtedly faced the exact same setbacks at one time. If they can reach success, why not any one of us? 🙂
Everyone needs a little help pushing through the down times that can be so demotivating! Great post 😀
Absolutely, we all doubt ourselves from time to time but we’re all here to support each other 🙂
Reblogged this on Nina J. Lux and commented:
From the wonderful blog by Callum McLaughlin. Something worth thinking about, writers.
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Awesome post, Callum! Thanks for the inspiration!
My pleasure! I’m really glad you liked it.
Thank you so much for sharing these inspiring stories – just what I needed today! I loved the last one especially. I had no idea George Eliot was a pseudonym! 😀
My pleasure! Thanks for reading 🙂
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