Monday, July 20, 2009

Publishers Are Only Human

"Good things come to those who wait. " - Proverb

If rejection letters have made you feel a bit blue lately, you may want to take a few minutes to read "14 Best-Selling Books Repeatedly Rejected by Publishers" on HowStuffWorks. It’s bound to cheer you up with such tidbits as:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig was turned down 121 times. According to Wikipedia, the book sold over 4 million copies in twenty-seven languages and was described by the press as "the most widely read philosophy book, ever."[

Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen was turned down for a total of 140 times and has now sold more than 80 million copies. It seems the publishers thought the book was “too positive.” I bet all 140 rejecting publishers went into a soundproof room to vent some very unpleasant thoughts when they learned that “too positive” was a very good thing.

Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis was rejected by 15 publishers before Vanguard Press picked it up. It was turned into a Broadway hit and a popular film. Dennis became a millionaire. He was also the first author to have 3 books listed at one time on the New York Times best-seller list. Is there a writer who hasn’t dreamed of this scenario happening to them? Be honest authors!

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach received 18 rejections. When it was published, it sold more than a million copies and became a movie with a soundtrack by Neil Diamond. I certainly wouldn’t mind Neil doing a soundtrack for The Ride. Sigh.

When I was much younger, one of my favorite books was Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. This book received 20 rejections. One publisher told him the story wouldn’t be very interesting because nobody drowns. Oops.

The rest of the list plus information about each book can be found here.

To me, this proves that publishers are only human and do not always make the right decisions about what sells and what doesn’t. So next time you become discouraged, think positive because your book may show up on a "Best-Selling Books Repeatedly Rejected by Publishers" list someday.

I feel fortunate that The Ride found a publisher. Now I’m waiting for Hollywood to discover the little gem. If you’re listening Hollywood, my sister has the cast figured out –all you need to do is turn it into a blockbuster movie!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: The Ride, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Chicken Soup for the Soul , Auntie Mame, Jonathn Livingston Seagull, Kon Tiki, Hollywood, rejection letters,


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love reading something positive first thing in the morning! Thanks.

Some great books on that list.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Karen Walker said...

Yes. Harry Potter is also on the list,I believe.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

It’s the funniest thing, I was thinking about this topic just a couple of days ago…not that I’ve ever been rejected, of course. (Grin) I was just feeling sorry for those poor souls who have been.

Best regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Alexis Grant said...

What a great link -- Thanks for posting this!

Helen Ginger said...

A fun post to read on a Monday morning -- and it offers hope to writers everywhere!

Straight From Hel

Marvin D Wilson said...

What? Publishers are human? Really? Who'da thunk? LOL

Good post and advice with some useful links, Jane. :)

The Old Silly

Nancy J. Parra said...

Great post- so true and it's always fun to read actual examples! Helps you not feel so alone. :) and yes- Harry Potter is on the list!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Submitting is tough, even scary for some, so I understand why many writers quit after the first few rejections. Me, for instance. I stopped writing fifteen or twenty times over the years. LOL

Anonymous said...

Makes me feel better. Thanks. Add John Grisham to the list. He went the self-publishing route until be picked up by a large publisher. Now he has seven movies made from his books.

Stephen Tremp

thebookaddict said...

Thanks for posting this. It helps those of us who are working on novels to have hope!

K. A. Laity said...

LOL -- it is always a good thing to remember. Somehow all those rejections disappear when you get the right "yes"!

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world