- Louis L'Amour (one of my favorite western authors) received 200 rejections. There would have been 201 rejections, but Bantam decided to take a chance. The result? 330 million sales of his 89 published novels, 2 non-fiction books, and 14 short story collections.
- Zane Gray, originally a dentist who fell in love with the Old West, ignored a rejection that advised him to "give up" because he had "no business being a writer." He wrote 90 novels, and many of those became movies or television series.
- Beatrix Potter's wonderful book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, received so many rejections that Ms. Potter self published. To date that little book has sold over 45 million copies.
- Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind was rejected 38 times.
- Newbery Medal winner, A Wrinkle in Time, author, Madeleine L'Engle, was turned down by 26 publishers. Her book has now sold over 8 million copies.
- Another favorite author of mine, Louisa May Alcott, was told to "stick to teaching" by a publisher before her novel, Little Women, flew off the shelves.
Why didn't all these authors and hundreds, if not thousands, of authors more give up when those rejections rolled in? For one, they believed in their work, and for two, they were persistent in finding a publisher or an agent. So, if you receive a rejection for your manuscript, story, or article, don't give up. Check your market choice: did you follow the publisher/agent guidelines; does that publisher/agent accept unsolicited submissions; and, does the publisher/agent list your genre on their want/wish list. Next, read your manuscript out loud one more time: is the first paragraph, page, or chapter captivating; does the story flow; and, are the plot and subplots solid.
Finally, celebrate the rejection! You have taken an important step in authorship--your sent out your manuscript. That is an accomplishment in itself! So learn from that rejection, celebrate your accomplishment, then be persistent and send it back out. Rejection is not failure. It is only a learning experience.