What do each of these famous writers have in common?:
e e cummingsBelieve it or not their manuscripts were rejected, time and time and time again, by publishing houses around the world.
So they self-published and the rest is… a fortune in literary treasures.
Joseph Heller suffered 22 rejections for (guess what) Catch 22. Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead - 12 rejections. Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull – 20.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig was declared a non-starter by supposed ‘experts’ a soul-destroying 121 times. According to the Guinness Book of World Records it wears the sash for the most-rejected best seller. And yet Pirsig remained resolute, releasing it himself in 1974. Thirty-six years on it’s an indisputable American cult classic. Who hasn’t heard of it?
The self-help career tome that is standard reading for any job seeker, Bolles’ What Color is Your Parachute?, didn’t even get an interview. Now in its 37th reprint and having sold over 10 million copies, someone, somewhere, clearly couldn’t see the giant gift horse's big brown eyes staring him in the face.
Imagine if George Orwell hadn’t stuck to his guns and self-published Animal Farm? Should it never have seen the light of day I bet even my 17-year-old cousin, still dripping from being saturated in Year 10 Orwellian satire, would grudgingly admit to being the lesser for its absence.
Mark Twain’s publisher lived to rue the day he ever scorned Huckleberry Finn. Defiant to the last, Twain came up with an ingenious strategy to market and publish his book simultaneously. He hired a team of door-to-door salesmen to sell subscriptions to the as-yet unpublished book, which he then paid to produce himself.
My book is nowhere near publishing stage, but it’s something a wannabe writer can’t help but think about from time to time. What do I do with it once I’ve finally finished the @%*!@! thing?
In the publishing mosh pit one person’s decision might seem to be your maker or breaker. But I reckon if a person fails to see something special in what you put in front of them, put it in front of someone else. If they can’t see the value in it, (besides being nutso) they don’t deserve the rewards it will - undoubtedly - bring :)
And your mum and dad will love it regardless.