Famous Author Rejections

Rejections: all writers face them. They’re the bane of our existence and our careers. That’s not to mention how soul-crushing and discouraging they can be. If you’re a seasoned veteran, you are already acquainted with these little demons. If you’re just starting, brace yourself. Odds are your first submission will be rejected. And your second. And your third. J.K. Rowling received rejections from twelve publishers before Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was finally accepted. Cut yourself some slack when you get your first.

I’ll give you advice on how to handle rejection at a later date. Right now I want to provide you with encouragement and entertainment in the form of famous authors’ rejections.

A quick Google search and you’ll find site after site listing not just writers’ rejections but also rejections of famous artists, musicians, etc. Everyone in the world of art has to deal with them.

Not a fan of Moby-Dick? Lord of the Flies? Then you might find some kindred spirits–or a good laugh–in some of the rejections your search will generate. Even novels and collections that we consider “classics” faced (sometimes brutal) rejection. The writers still tried again and again until they succeeded, proving that persistence pays off in this trade.

With that in mind, below are four lists of famous authors’ rejections. (There is overlap but each list adds another writer and/or interesting facts about the rejections. They’re all worth a look.) If you just got your first rejection, you’re feeling downtrodden, or you want reassurance that you’re not alone in this experience, check these out:





Did you find any particularly uplifting? Amusing? Do you have some to add to the list? Feel free to discuss them in the comments. We look forward to hearing from you.


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