The publishing world has always had a love-hate relationship with authors. On one hand publishing firms want to curate and write books that will become best sellers while authors wish they could get a simple chance to even audition. With thousands of books and manuscripts published each year, most publishers do not even handle unsolicited manuscripts. These are some of the famous best-selling authors who were initially rejected, some of them more than once.
Stephen King: This gentleman spend the better part of his twenties as an English teacher and his first novel, Carrie was initially rejected. These days he churns out novels at dizzying levels. It is hard to imagine with more than 300 million sales that at one time Stephen King couldn’t get a publisher for his novel. Eventually King threw the manuscript into a bin then his wife retrieved it and encouraged him to revise it and resend to publishers. The book would later sell over 1 million copies
Dan Brown: Dan Brown was a low-key struggling writer whose first three novels could not break the 10, 000 barrier. The publisher even gave his fourth book a stinging criticism by calling it, so badly written. The author who is now in his early fifties, tried the Doubleday who agreed to work with him and his doors opened up. Needless to say, his fourth book the Da Vinci Code has sold nearly 100 million copies.
E.L. James: She of the famous, Fifty Shades of Grey, initially wrote the book while on her commute to work on her blackberry. The book was initially criticised as being so poorly written. The trilogy went on to become a best-seller to the tune of about 70 million copies. A movie franchise is out under the same name. Her avid readers have defied the dire predictions of most authors that she approached.
Anne Frank: She alongside Dan Brown were both picked up by Doubleday and went on to become great authors. One publisher who rejected her work remarked that, ‘The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.’ Her account as a young girl at the height of the Nazi revolution would later turn into memoirs that sold over 25 million copies.
Stephanie Meyer: Stephanie Meyer’s vampire romance saga was rejected by 14 of the 15 literary agents that she contacted. Within weeks she received a $750, 000 book deal that propelled her to literary success. The book which stemmed from her own nightmare ushered her from being a stay-at-home mum to a big time writer.
Most writers feel like the industry is cartel-like and snobbish. They feel it simply panders to the famous with the obvious advantage that they already have a built-in audience. The irony is these writers who were previously rejected by publishers would later on make it and become great literary successes.