Famous Books and Authors Initially Rejected by Publishers

Ever thought how many trips it would take to have your book published? Well, if these writers are to be believed, it might as well be 30 or more. Yes that’s how many times some authors have faced rejection, sometimes not even gentle ones. Nevertheless, they didn’t lose heart or stop pushing, and did whatever it took. Now these have become names you can see in the bestseller lists all over the world!

#1 And Then There were None, Agatha Christie

One of the trendsetters in the modern thriller-horror genre, she waited for five years to get it published. Now with sales in 2 billion, she is second only to Shakespeare.

#2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J. K. Rowling

A household name, and creator of an entire fandom Pottermore, Rowling faced 12 rejections before Bloomsbury decided to give her a chance. Initially told “not to quit her day job”, she is now one of the richest authors. Her last four novels were the fastest selling books, with combined sales of 450 million.

#3 Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis

Talking animals, kids, and wardrobe that acts as a gateway – I don’t see why publishers didn’t see the allure of his books much earlier. Lewis became more determined as years passed, eventually succeeding and selling over 100 million copies.

#4 The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown

One of my personal favourites, the fact-fiction Robert Langdon series are now a major film series. But Brown once received a rejection with the publisher commenting on his bad writing style. The book sold over 80 million copies.

#5 Animal Farm, George Orwell

Most of you must have read this in your course books. Now considered a classic in the political satire genre, Animal Farm was once rejected due to “unavailability of market for animal stories in the USA”.

#6 The Jungle Book, Rudyard  Kipling

With numerous versions of the story being made into films, it is hard to imagine that Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use English language.

#7 Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

A 140 year old classic, the book sells millions now because Alcott refused to give up her dream, even when told to “stick to teaching”.

#8 Carrie, Stephen King

A legend in the dystopian thriller genre, Carrie was rejected 30 times before receiving its chance. It sold 1 million copies in its first year alone.

#9 Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Mitchell faced 38 rejections before finding the right one, and sold over 30 million copies.

#10 Twilight, Stephenie Meyer

Spawning a full length movie series, the book has a stronghold amongst the youth and spent 91 weeks on the bestseller lists. It might come as a surprise but Meyer was rejected consecutively 14 times before selling 17 million copies of the book.

#11 The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Now considered a classic, it was rejected for being an “absurd story as romance, melodrama or record of New York high life.”

#12 The Enormous Room, E.E. Cummings

Getting rejected 15 times is no small impediment. Cumming didn’t get deterred, rather cheekily included a “With No Thanks To” page at the end of his bestselling novel, to commemorate facing the odds and winning against them.

#13 Life of Pi, Yann Martel

If you haven’t heard of the book, you must have at least seen the movie. The acclaimed film is based on the novel, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2002, after first being rejected by 5 London publishers.

#14 The Help, Katheryn Stockett

One of the best books based on the discrimination and plight of blacks, The Help was rejected 60 times before seeing the press. A film based on this book has also been made.

#15 The Rosabal Line, Ashwin Sanghi/Shawn Haigins

Considered India’s Dan Brown, Sanghi had to self-publish his first novel under a pseudonym, after finding no publisher for his book. Now with four books, one co-written with the acclaimed James Patterson, Sanghi enjoys a fan base in India and abroad alike.

The list can go on and on. For all we know, another author is being rejected right now, for his/her unconventional writing methods, or the absurdness of the story or anything. It could even be you.

So perhaps getting rejected isn’t the worse thing. Losing hope and doubting your own work is what’s awful. Rejections will occur. Face them like these authors did. And maybe one day you would be on someone’s list of famous authors.

Images: Pinterest

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