If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Feeling Rejected?






This blog was originally posted in 2014 by blogger Kara Cerise formerly of WWK. Its wisdom prompted me to post it for today's blog.                                                              E. B. Davis 

Have you received a not so nice rejection letter? Take heart; you're in good company. Before some authors became famous, and even after, they received rejection letters that were mean, mocking, and nasty. These rejections also were remarkable for their bad judgment and advice. By comparison, it makes the nonspecific "this isn't exactly what we're looking for at the moment" feel like a love letter.

Some jaw-dropping rejections:

Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The Torrents of Spring, was rejected with, “It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.”

In 1966, Redbook sent a blunt rejection to writer Mary Higgins Clark, “We found the heroine as boring as her husband had.”

“…an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.” An agent to William Golding about Lord of the Flies.

H.G. Wells received a disheartening rejection letter after he submitted The War of the Worlds. “An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would ‘take’…I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book’.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was rejected with the advice, “You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby Character.”

Editor of the San Francisco Examiner to Rudyard Kipling, “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”

“Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” A rejection letter sent to Dr. Seuss for his book, And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street.

When Louisa May Alcott tried to get Little Women published she was advised, “Stick to teaching.”

“…overwhelmingly nauseating…I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.” Rejection of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

One publishing house rejected Stephen King’s novel, Carrie, because they were “not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”

“(Your poems) are quite remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.” Rejection to poet Emily Dickinson.

Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected by one publisher who thought it was “too nicey-nice” and “nobody wants to read a book of short little stories.”

“...she is a painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish writer whose every sentence, paragraph and scene cries for the hand of a pro.” Excerpt from a rejection letter for Jacqueline Susann’s book, Valley of the Dolls.

A publisher rejected Tony Hillerman’s first Navajo detective novel and suggested that he “get rid of all the Indian stuff.”

“You have no business being a writer and should give up.” Rejection letter to Zane Grey who is believed to have over 250 million books in print.

“The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.” Letter from one of fifteen publishers who rejected The Diary of Anne Frank.

“He hasn’t got any future.” A letter from a publisher to his colleague regarding John le Carré who wrote The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

Animal Farm by George Orwell was rejected by Alfred Knopf because it was “impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A.”

I don’t know about you, but reading these rejections made me mad. What if the authors had believed the negative (and just plain wrong) messages and given up on a story or career? We all would have lost out on some great literature. So, if you’re feeling the sting of rejection, chin up, grab a piece of chocolate for courage, and get back to work. These writers somehow continued to write after being rejected and you can too!

To read more author rejection letters go to: Literary Rejections, Mental Floss, Telegraph, and The Best Colleges.

16 comments:

KM Rockwood said...

We all get rejections (at least I think we do.) I have never gotten quite so spectacular ones as those you cite. The closest I've come is "I don't know where I could sell this."

I'll just keep on plugging away, even if I never do get to the "I told you so!" point of the authors in your blog.

Ellis Vidler said...

Terrific post. I don't know if it's heartening or disheartening. When I consider how some people are so convinced they know so much about readers and are quick to pass on harsh words it saddens me. But seeing who they rejected and why is uplifting. :-)

Warren Bull said...

Is a harsh rejection so much worse than a form letter?

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I guess my writing needs to improve before I can generate as nasty letters as your examples. I did have a magazine (who rejected the story) note that my bio could have stopped after my name!

And Warren, a form letter is just a "no thanks." A nasty rejection required effort and was intended to hurt -- of course it is up to us to remove the stinger and laugh at their puerile need to attempt to aggrandize themselves by inflicting pain on others.

~ Jim

Ellis Vidler said...

Jim, I agree. Those nasty rejections were intended to hurt and discourage. In my opinion, that's unnecessary. If you're going to take the time to write a personal rejection, you could at least give constructive criticism.

Gloria Alden said...

I certainly got my share of rejections back when I was submitting to agents, but mostly in the line of form letters. Instead, of making me give up, I decided eventually to self-publish and am very happy with my choice. I loved reading the rejection letters for those authors who went on to become famous. It just shows how subjective the whole business is.

Kara Cerise said...

KM, it must have been sweet vindication for these authors to say, "I told you so!"

I feel the same way, Ellis. The harsh words are discouraging. But it's also inspiring to know that rejections can be flat out wrong.

Warren, I'd prefer a polite "no thank you" over a nasty rejection. Although, sometimes feeling angry and wanting to prove them wrong can be motivating.

Jim, one publisher sent a mocking rejection letter to Gertrude Stein that clearly required time and effort. I probably should have included in this blog because it was so over-the-top.

Kara Cerise said...

Gloria, when I was doing research for this blog I learned that Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit, started out by self-publishing. Apparently, she couldn't find a publisher willing to take a chance on a children's story about a family of rabbits.

Gayle Carline said...

The rejection for Carrie is what makes me laugh (and then slap the writer). Of course the book doesn't work as science fiction - it's a horror story, for Pete's sake!

E. B. Davis said...

I've had my share of rejections, especially this year. This blog reminds me that criticism is subjective. It doesn't help to know when rejection causes hurt and discouragement. I must admit to going through the, "I can't write my way out of a paper bag" mentality every once in a while.

But then someone will come along and really like something I wrote encouraging me. Sometimes they like pieces I felt weren't my best. Other times, the pieces that I've felt sure about have received a "ho-hum" reception. Which is the point of this blog. Thank you so much for writing it, Kara. We need to hear this message about once per week!

Kara Cerise said...

Good point about Carrie, Gayle! I had a similar reaction when I read that Animal Farm was rejected in the US because animal stories don't sell.

Kara Cerise said...

I'm glad that you keep writing, E.B.! You've written terrific stories. Rejections can be discouraging even when we know they're subjective because that nasty self-doubt creeps in. I guess all we can do is our best, send our story out in the world, and try to let it go.

Shari Randall said...

Wow, these really sting!
Looking at this list, it seems that many of these writers - Dickinson, Nabokov, Orwell - were moving into uncharted territory and their publishers were looking for books that comfortably fit their lists - looking for the same old, same old.
Time to buy some chocolate for courage!
Thank you for the pep talk, Kara ;)

Paula Gail Benson said...

Wow, seeing these helps me to get back to writing. No excuses. Thanks, Kara!

Kara Cerise said...

Shari, you make a good point about publishers rejecting some of these writers because they were comfortable going with what fit their criteria. It's too bad they weren't kinder with their rejections.
You can never have too much chocolate!

I feel the same way, Paula. Reading these rejection letters inspires me to redouble my efforts.

Kait said...

And my favorite synopsis - Tom Clancy, "It's a little book about a boat." Hunt for Red October.

I feel so much better now! I do think that Shari has a great point. So many of these books were considered coloring outside the lines when they were presented to publishers/agents. Let's be grateful for the ones brave enough to take the chance and the writers brave enough to keep writing!