Yawatta Hosby is a young writer whose dream is to be a published author. In a recent blog post, she shares about receiving her first rejection.
What’s admirable about her is the attitude that shines throughout the post, which reflects her always-present closing tagline: Keep smiling.
Have you been fortunate enough to receive a rejection for your work so early in your writing journey? I have. If you haven’t, I hope you will soon. Why do I say that?
- it shows that you are writing and have work to submit. That’s better than many writers who only talk about writing. You’re actually doing it.
- it shows you’re gaining confidence in your writing ability. It’s okay to feel good about your work, even though we new writers have much more to learn about the craft. The pros will let us know that. But how will we know unless we seek their opinions and guidance?
- it gives you experience with what is inevitable in the writing life. Not everyone is going to like your work. Get used to it now and learn how to handle it with grace.
Who knows? You may become a member of that crowded club: Authors whose well-known works were rejected repeatedly by publishers. Here’s a list of 15 famous authors who persevered through rejection after rejection after rejection …
- Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
- Margaret Mitchell – Gone With the Wind
- Herman Melville – Moby Dick
- Madeleine L’Engle – A Wrinkle in Time
- J. K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Beatrix Potter – The Tale of Peter Rabbit
- H. G. Wells – The War of the Worlds
- Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged
- Judy Blume – The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo
- Kathryn Stockett – The Help
- Rudyard Kipling – The Jungle Book
- Shel Silverstein – The Giving Tree
- Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables
- John Grisham – A Time to Kill
- Agatha Christie – The Mysterious Affair at Styles
When I made this list, I was pretty sure that they had all been rejected, but I took the time to research and confirm. That’s how I came upon a website devoted to rejected titles. You can find the list at One Hundred Famous Rejections (though there are only 78 listed).
These lists should not only make you feel better about your rejection, but it should also help you see that publishers aren’t always right when it comes to what the public wants to read.
Just For Fun: In its bimonthly magazine, Writer’s Digest has a column called “Reject a Hit.” Readers submit humorous rejection letters from a fictional editor to the author of a famous book. They are hilarious. For example, the current issue spoofs Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Here’s how the rejection letter begins:
Dear Mr. Dickens:
I’m sorry to inform you that your recent submission “Great Expectations” fell far below ours. I understand your desire to be detailed, but your descriptions left me bored beyond comprehension and in some instances, if I may speak plainly, inspired hostility.
So, write your stories, submit them when you think they’re ready for professional eyes, and know that you’re not alone if your work is rejected. Use the experience to grow as a writer. Then, look forward to that grand day when the letter from the editor says “Accepted”!
And remember this:
Failures are fingerposts on the road to achievement. ~ C. S. Lewis
How have you used rejection to spur yourself on as a writer?