Friday, January 16, 2015

When No means Yes - in the Publishing World

Recently I came across a page that I had bookmarked many years ago, I refer to it sometimes and it reminds me why we all keep going in the face of adversity.

The page? It is called and it's one that I think all writers should visit whenever they receive their own rejection letters.

You see, sometimes, no means yes. You may get a no from 20-30, even a hundred publishers, but there may be that one company out there that has faith in your work and you might find yourself among the literary luminaries such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Salinger, to name just a few, who were told no.

Did you know that Margaret Mitchell's manuscript for Gone with the Wind was rejected by thirty-eight publishers before it was picked up?  Stephen King was told that his work would never sell.
JK Rowling's first Harry Potter novel was rejected by more than a dozen publishing houses before a small independent company took it on.

Beatrix Potter decided to self-publish her Tale of Peter Rabbit after she was rejected by numerous publishers. Her first print run was only 250 copies, it has now sold more than 45 million copies.

Having had publishers call his book dull, William Golding continued to send Lord of the Flies out until the NO turned into a YES and he sold 15 million copies.

Kathryn Stockett's best seller, The Help was rejected by sixty publishers before it was picked up, published and made into a major motion picture.

So, being rejected isn't always so bad, it is more about finding the one publisher who hears your voice and believes it needs to be heard. Keep writing, keep pushing on, keep sending it out into the world. Take critiques well, learn from them. Peter Benchley's book deal was rejected so he went and re-wrote his story and today we have the best-seller Jaws.

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