Novel Conversations

Our Favourite Rejects

When you visit the library and browse the new books do you consider the journey these stories have taken to reach our shelves?

It is interesting to consider how many of these books were initially rejected, not just a few times but numerous. It shows the tenacity and sheer determination of the author’s belief in their work to persistently weather the rejections, constantly putting themselves out again and again.

When you consider some of the classics on our shelves, one assumes that they started out recognised as such. Not so! Below are just a few of the classics that suffered rejection time and again to earn a place on our shelves.

  • Agatha Christie, one of the most popular mystery and crime novelists suffered 5 years of continual rejection – her book sales are now in excess of $2 billion!
  • Louis L’Amour, a popular Western writer received 200 rejections before being published. He now tops 330 million sales!
  • LM Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is rejected by 5 publishers before finally being published and goes on to sell 50 million copies!
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter was rejected so many times Beatrix decided to self-publish. Who doesn’t have a copy of this book on their shelf?
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times!
  • Kathryn Stockett’s The Help received 60 rejections!
  • Stephen King received 30 rejections for Carrie. Mr King is to receive the PEN American Literary Service Award for 2018!
  • William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, a classic on many school’s reading lists was rejected 21 times!
  • Another modern classic Dubliners by James Joyce was rejected 18 times and is now studied in universities around the world!
  • And what surely ranks alongside Decca’s rejection of The Beatles as one of the biggest misjudgements ever, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected 12 times before landing a deal and creating a worldwide phenomenon!

It is just as well these authors persevered for the sake of all of us, the readers!