Hank Jordan's Blog
Writing / Publishing / Business Consulting

Afraid Of Rejects?

October 19th, 2011 by Hank

Scores of best-selling books have been rejected many times before being published. Here are just three examples:

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Despite its having sold 40 million copies since 1970, publishers originally thought that the concept of a book being told from the point of view of a seagull was simply ridiculous. As a result, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was rejected a total of eighteen times.

Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
These days, everyone is familiar with the Chicken Soup series. In fact, it seems there is a chicken soup title for just about everyone’s soul, from prisoners to preteens to golfers. In a little under three decades, the title has become the best-selling non-fiction series in the world, selling over 130 million copies. Before the series launched though, Canfield and Hansen were rejected by over 100 publishers. Canfield once reminisced on these not-so-good times, noting, “The first time we went to New York, we visited with about a dozen publishers in a two day period with our agent, and nobody wanted it. They all said it was a stupid title, that nobody bought collections of short stories, that there was no edge — no sex, no violence. Why would anyone read it?”

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Orwell’s second best-selling novel behind 1984 was rejected four times before going on to sell 20 million copies. The main problem Orwell faced was the simple fact that his book critiqued communism while the USSR was a critical ally of the UK during WWII. What is truly interesting about this novel’s rejection though is the fact that author T.S. Eliot wrote one of the rejection letters himself, explaining “We have no conviction that this is the right point of view from which to criticize the political situation at the current time.” It wasn’t until a few months after the war ended that Orwell was able to secure a publisher for the story. The rest is literary history.

So if you want to write a book and are reluctant because you don’t know if anyone will publish it or read it, take hope. In fact, I will guarantee that we can publish it — as a printed book and/or as an E-book. Let’s talk.

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