Many famous writers, even those that have sold millions of books were rejected by traditional publishers at one time or another in their careers:

HERMAN MELVILLE

Moby-Dick, was turned down by multiple publishers.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

The Sun Also Rises was rejected in 1925, by some idiot that wrote, “I found your efforts to be both tedious and offensive.”

GEORGE ORWELL

In 1944, T.S. Eliot (working at Faber & Faber) wrote about Animal Farm, “…we have no conviction that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time…” The work was rejected by at least four other publishers before finally being printed in 1945.

KENNETH GRAHAME

Some clown wrote, “An irresponsible holiday story that will never sell.” of The Wind In The Willows.

H.G. WELLS

About The War of The Worlds some fool said, “An endless nightmare. I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book’.”

JOSEPH HELLER

Named his satirical book about World War II after the 22 rejections he received: Catch-22. Here’s one: “I haven’t the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say.”

KURT VONNEGUT

The author had numerous very unpleasant rejection letters for his classic, Slaughterhouse-Five.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV

His classic 1955 novel, Lolita was rejected with this: “…overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian … the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy. It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream… I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.”

RUDYARD KIPLING

Some idiot wrote this of Kipling: “…you just don’t know how to use the English language.”

D.H. LAWRENCE

“…for your own sake do not publish this book.” Was the advice he got about Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

JOHN LE CARRÉ

One publisher sent this to another about The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, “You’re welcome to le Carré—he hasn’t got any future.”

STEPHEN KING

Had The Running Man rejected so published himself under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.

SYLVIA PLATH

“Reject recommended… there certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.” Was written by an editor about The Bell Jar.  It was rejected twice.


So the moral of the story is don’t give up – what do editors know anyway? Lol.