Friday, June 18, 2010


Taped above my writing desk is a quote from a New York Times article, written by Douglas Martin upon the death of author Madeleine L'Engle in September, 2007:
" 'A Wrinkle in Time' was rejected by 26 publishers before editors at Farrar, Straus & Giroux read it and enthusiastically accepted it. It proved to be [L'Engle's] masterpiece, winning the John Newbery Medal as the best children’s book of 1963 and selling, so far, eight million copies. It is now in its 69th printing."
Her rejections came after having already produced a play and published six novels! I remind myself of this when the "Thanks for sending us your work, but it's not right for [The Sun]" slips come in.

According to Gotham Writers' Workshop, these books faced the following rejections:
Dune, by Frank Herbert: 13 times
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. Rowling: 14
Carrie, by Stephen King: over 30
Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell: 38

 Jack London's list: 1901-03
"Gifted" be damned; it's persistence that placed these authors' books in our palms.
You can't find a book or blog about writing that doesn't address how to deal with the big R. I recently commented on an Inkygirl blog post about rejections with the following:
"Something I’ve found useful to quell the rejection sting is to line up your submissions to do list; as soon as you feel the descent from ‘no thanks’, you’ve got renewed hope taking its place with another SASE attached."
Whether receiving that form letter or a more encouraging personalized note, I celebrate the fact that collecting rejections is proof that I'm writing and putting it out there. 

Dear Reader:
How do you handle rejection of your work?

1 comment:

Joanna Jenkins said...

I've never submitted my work for publication but I know this for sure-- I would NOT want to be the people who rejected Harry Potter 14 times. I bet their heads
are rolling!

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