Your Publisher’s Just Not That Into You…

We’ve all been there, facing the agony of being rejected in some shape or form. And whether you laugh it off, drink it away or cry in a corner, there is always some way to cope – especially if you are the author who resubmitted the manuscript and sold millions! So I thought I’d take an alternative look at rejection and give you a run down on some of the most famous authors of our time, and the rejection letters that left them laughing all the way to the bank!

 Rudyard KiplingI’m sorry Mr Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.

Anyone who knows “The Bare Necessities” will know that the various works of Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book and the Just So Stories were published by someone else. Oh, and Kipling received a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.




And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street | Dr SeussToo different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.

Oh the places his books would go…  And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street will be available in-store and online December 1st 2012, but you can put your order in for this delightful classic now.




The Diary of Anne Frank | Anne FrankThe girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.

I am speechless. I am without speech. The Diary of Anne Frank continues to sell over 30 million copies and has been translated into more than 60 languages.

READ  What to Read When You're Not a Big Reader





Jonathan Livingston Seagull | Richard Bach : will never make it as a paperback.

Will never make it as a paperback, she said.

Over 7.25 million copies were sold.




The War of the Worlds | H.G. Wells : An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would “take”…I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book’. 

The War of the Worlds went on to stop traffic, send the world into mass panic, spawn several film and stage adaptations, and remain in print for 115 years!





Carrie | Stephen King : We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.

Tell that to every Stephen King Novel, The Hunger Games, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (better known as Bladerunner), Neuromancer … need I go on?





Catch–22 | Joseph Heller : I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say… Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level … From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.

Apparently this publisher intends to be funny too. But what’s hilarious is the 10 million copies Catch-22 sold in the USA alone.




Animal Farm | George Orwell : It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.

Personally, I blame Snowball.

READ  The Goldfinch




Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone J.K. Rowling: was rejected 12 times before Bloomsbury published it in 1991.

Harry Potter is one of the highest selling book series in the world, spanning 400 million copies worldwide, 10 years, 8 films, 7 books, 3 Friends and 1 theme park.





Guest Blogger: Grace, 2nd Year University of Wollongong student, Co-op Member since 2012 and Social Media Intern

This blog post was initially rejected twice. 

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