Thursday, March 22, 2012

Some Thursday Inspiration

I've been feeling a lot inspired lately, both with the writing and with life in general, so I've been trying to come up with an inspiring story to blog about today. Alas, everything I came up with was inspiring to me for personal reasons (which wouldn't necessarily be understood by you, dear readers, without pages and pages of explanations). So, I'm stealing inspiration this morning by delving into some famous writers' rejections.

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

Classic writer Colette was told in a letter of rejection: "I wouldn't be able to sell 10 copies."

A rejection letter to Pierre Boulle about his "Bridge Over River Kwai" said, "A very bad book."

Jean Auel, author of "The Clan of Cave Bear" was told, "We are very impressed with the depth and scope of your research and the quality of your prose. Nevertheless ... we don't think we could distribute enough copies to satisfy you or ourselves."

"Jonathan Livingston Seagull will never make it as a paperback." From the publisher of a magazine refusing an offer to bid on the paperback rights to Richard Bach's best selling novel. Avon Books eventually bought those rights and sales totaled more than 7.25 million copies.

A rejection for H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds" that said, "An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would "take"...I think the verdict would be 'Oh don't read that horrid book'."

Madeleine L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME was turned down 29 times.

Beatrix Potter's THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT was turned down so many times she initially self-published it.

Dr. Seuss got rejection letters, too: "too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling."

Here's a rejection letter for THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK:
"The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the 'curiosity' level."

Mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark was sending out her manuscript “Journey Back to Love” in the early 1960s: “We found the heroine as boring as her husband did.”

Jacqueline Susann’s “Valley of the Dolls” received this response, “…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."

An editor once wrote to Emily Dickinson, “(Your poems) are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.”

Jack London heard, “(Your book is) forbidding and depressing.”

Ernest Hemingway, regarding his 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.”

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
‘Do you realize, young woman, that you’re the first American writer ever to poke fun at sex.’

Carrie by Stephen King: ‘We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.’

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: ‘… overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian … the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy. It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream … I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.’

Hey, they may have stung in the short run, but in the long run these writers certainly proved people wrong - which is why the list inspired me! What inspires you?