Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach was rejected 140 times before it was eventually published. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times. Watership Down by Richard Adams: 26 rejections
Fact: Virtually every debut novelist who appears on the best seller list had his or her book turned down numerous times before an editor finally accepted it.
Now lets just imagine that Richard Bach gives up after the 140th rejection. His surrender effectively validates the rejectors’ opinions. But the 141st submission that leads to an acceptance proves all the rejectors wrong.
Incredible that 139 editors were so mistaken about a book. But they were. Which illustrates the fact that the vast majority of people in the publishing industry really have no clue what’s good, what’s bad. Or more precisely, what will sell and what will not.
In the current dangerous economic climate, agents and editors are rightfully terrified they may lose their jobs, so they don’t intend to take any chances. Only books by established authors with a best selling track record are sought and quickly accepted. All the rest, however well written, are declined.
In this dreary landscape what’s a writer to do?
Quitting validates rejections. Quitting guarantees failure.
Me? I don’t intend to give them the satisfaction.