Publisher Rejections Never Cease To Amaze

FAMOUS SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS

  • Remembrance of things Past, by Marcel Proust
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce
  • The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
  • A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
  • The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton
  • The Bridges of Madison County
  • What Color is Your Parachute
  • In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters
  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. (and his student E. B. White)
  • The Joy of Cooking
  • When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
  • Life’s Little Instruction Book
  • Robert’s Rules of Order

OTHER FAMOUS AUTHORS WHO SELF-PUBLISHED

  • Deepak Chopra
  • Gertrude Stein
  • Zane Grey
  • Upton Sinclair
  • Carl Sandburg
  • Ezra Pound
  • Mark Twain
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Stephen Crane
  • Bernard Shaw
  • Anais Nin
  • Thomas Paine
  • Virginia Wolff
  • e.e. Cummings
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Walt Whitman
  • Alexandre Dumas
  • William E.B. DuBois
  • Beatrix Potter

REJECTED BY PUBLISHERS

  • Pearl S. Buck – The Good Earth – 14 times
  • Norman Mailer – The Naked and the Dead – 12 times
  • Patrick Dennis- Auntie Mame – 15 times
  • George Orwell – Animal Farm
  • Richard Bach – Jonathan Livingston Seagull – 20 times
  • Joseph Heller – Catch-22 – 22 times (!)
  • Mary Higgins Clark – first short story – 40 times
  • Alex Haley – before Roots – 200 rejections
  • Robert Persig – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – 121 times
  • John Grisham – A Time to Kill – 15 publishers and 30 agents (he ended up publishing it himself)
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul – 33 times
  • Dr. Seuss – 24 times
  • Louis L’Amour – 200 rejections
  • Jack London – 600 before his first story
  • John Creasy – 774 rejections before selling his first story. He went on to write 564 books, using fourteen names.
  • Jerzy Kosinski – 13 agents and 14 publishers rejected his best-selling novel when he submitted it under a different name, including Random House, which had originally published it.
  • Diary of Anne Frank
  • During his entire lifetime, Herman Melville’s timeless classic, Moby Dick, sold only 3,715 copies.

Attribution to: Dan Poynter

‘nough said!

  • http://allandouglas.com/blog/ Allan

    Well, that list sure makes ME feel better!  Thank you for sharing.

    • http://twitter.com/SRumzi Sonia Rumzi

      Good! Made me feel great too. Thanks for stopping by. 

  • http://twitter.com/AllanDouglasDgn Doug

    I’ve encountered some of this info before and it always amazes me how many of what we now consider legendary authors struggled to get their work out – even paying to self-publish through vanity presses.  I’m sure glad they did, though.  Kudos on this expanded list!

    • Sonia Rumzi

       Thank you again Doug. Amazes me still how ignorant some can be to the bias of one person’s opinion of a manuscript. We should keep an open mind.