Several of my Twitter/blog friends who are aspiring authors have recently finished their novels and now stand on the brink of querying. Exciting, right? Yes, but it’s also mind-numbingly scary. Just researching which agents to query is enough to make some of us want to break all the dishes in our cabinets and stick tape on our cat’s paws, just so someone else will be more frustrated than we are.
(By the way, if you’ve never seen what a cat does when tape gets stuck on its paw… well. It’s pretty funny. But I’m not recommending that you do it. I’m just saying, one time it happened to my cat, and I laughed so hard I almost caught a cramp.)
(If anyone needs me, I’ll be hiding from PETA.)
Anyway, today I wanted to give you all a bit of encouragement as you face the rejections that, I’m sorry to say, are inevitably coming your way. Are you ready? Here we go!
1) Kathryn Stockett, bestselling author of The Help, spent five years trying to get an agent. She stopped counting after 45 of them rejected her, but she thinks the final tally was somewhere around 60 rejections.
2) Judy Blume says she got “nothing but rejections” for two years straight.
3) JK Rowling spent six years writing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which is the first book of her seven book series. Nine publishers rejected the book. This doesn’t sound like many, but when you think about how amazing her writing is? Nine is a lot.
4) Stephen King received the following rejection for his book entitled Carrie: “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”
5) Here are four more books you may have heard of, with the number of rejections they received next to them:
– The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – 17
– Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 38
– A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – 26
– Dune by Frank Herbert – 20
So, you see, once those rejection slips start showing up? Just remember: You’re not alone. There are no great authors out there who never dealt with rejections. It happens to absolutely everyone.
As for me, I was fortunate enough to gain representation by a literary agent back in January 2009, but this is still the beginning of the road for me. I’m sure there are plenty more rejections in my future – but you know what? If Stephen, Judy, JK, Meg, and all the rest of them got through it, I’m sure I will, too!