Often it appears that the successful people had it easy, surprisingly, sometimes the most successful people we look at with starry eyes are the ones who did not have it easy. Speaking specifically in light of books and authors, I am sure there is nobody you know who does not know about books like Harry Potter by JK Rowling or Murder in the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, and others. However, you would not find many people who know that publishers rejected these books that even have movie adaptations now.
Here is a list of the famous authors who faced a lot of rejections but did not give up:
1. Toni Morrison
With everything that has been going on with black people for centuries and the dreadful incident of George Floyd’s death this year, it makes me wonder about the rejections that Toni Morrison must have had faced getting her work to publish. For those of you who do not know, Toni Morrison was a black feminist writer who firmly believed that we need to re-write the history, for it does not include the Blacks and the women. This woman did not find success in publishing her work until she was 40; it is when her first book, The Bluest Eye, was published. Her book, The Beloved won a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction genre; she received a Nobel Prize in Literature (1993), she also received a Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012) and many other awards. Unfortunately, we lost her in 2019, but she will forever remain one of the most celebrated authors.
2. JK Rowling
A list that does not have the name of JK Rowling when it comes to authors who put their sweat, blood, and tears to find a publisher willing to publish their work is probably unreliable. JK Rowling is the author of one of the most selling books ever, the Harry Potter series. Her struggle story gives goosebumps, believer me. Let me tell you; when she was halfway through her book, she lost her mother (who died without knowing about the book), her brother was mentally ill who used to have visions, she had a miscarriage and a divorce.
Nonetheless, she completed the book in 6 years and went to the publishers. She literally could not find one publishing house, which was willing to trust a new author and her work until Bloomsbury. Harry Potter brought riches to both JK Rowling and Bloomsbury. There may be other fantasy book series, but Rowling’s Harry Potter is timeless.
3. F. Scott Fitzgerald
One hundred and twenty-two is the count of rejection letters that the author of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald received for The Great Gatsby, the most amazing American book that was ever written. The publishers were not willing to publish his book unless he got rid of the very protagonist Gatsby. Lucky for us that Fitzgerald did not think the same as the publishers did. The book highlights the adversities of the American Dream after world war 2. Fitzgerald died at the age of 42, but his work is still living, making a sale of more than half a million copies every year.
4. Stephen King
Imagine an author who has more than 50 published books now was once facing the rejection of the publishers. Stephen King did not start rich; he frequently did not even have the money to pay for the phone connection. He was working overtime so that his family could eat, something his wife did not appreciate, for it was cutting the time King spent writing. One day, while King was teaching, he received his wife’s call informing him that Doubleday Publishing house is willing to buy his novel Carrie despite 39 other publishing houses rejecting it. He did not earn much from it, but soon Signet Books purchased the rights of Carrie for $400,000, marking the beginning of a well-deserved successful career of Stephen King as a popular author.
5. Agatha Christie
In an age where people did not even read books by female authors, Agatha Christie did not take a pen name like other female writers. She has undoubtedly given the mystery genre its base following Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the author of Sherlock Holmes) with her 72 novels, most of them about crime mysteries. However, due to the rejection of publishers, her first work was never published. Her second work was facing the same continuous rejection because of which, when asked if she is willing to change the end, she did because of which now only a person living under the rock does not know the name, Agatha Christie.
We would have never been able to read the masterpieces of these brilliant authors had they given up. On another note, I would like to make it crystal clear that the bookworm in me does not appreciate how adaption of a book as a series or a movie is becoming a mark of its success. I would love to know your thoughts on the same; you can comment them below so I can get back to you.