Be dedicated to literature, if you say you love it. There will be those who snigger, who qualify you as a failure (for having failed to produce $ from your love), who roll their eyes, or who try to get you to do anything else on God’s earth.
In fact, love of literature, that fine and beautiful thing, could be compared to faith—particularly faith in One God. Those with faith in God may feel that others often see them as wasting their time/energy. Yet their faith uplifts, giving patience, purpose, humility and perseverance. The joy must be in the effort itself, the dedication to a higher calling.
Such is literature—a higher calling, which some will abuse or misuse for the sake of their egos. Their works will, ultimately, be lost or stand testimony to misuse.
If you are dedicated to your writing, and send it out to publishers who reject you, you will join the ranks of the rejected who had faith in their love of literature. The number of rejections follows each name:
Pearl S. Buck – The Good Earth – 14 times
Norman Mailer – The Naked and the Dead – 12 times
Patrick Dennis- Auntie Mame – 15 times
Richard Bach – Jonathan Livingston Seagull – 20 times
Joseph Heller – Catch-22 – 22 times (!)
Mary Higgins Clark – first short story – 40 times
Alex Haley – before Roots – 200 rejections
Robert Persig – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – 121 times
John Grisham – A Time to Kill – 15 publishers and 30 agents (he ended up publishing it himself)
Dr. Seuss – 24 times (Isn’t that hysterical? Publishers always say they want ‘fresh, new voices.’)
Louis L’Amour – 200 rejections (Go figure. The Old West has been considered a romantic fantasy since the pioneer days.)
Jack London – 600 before his first story (Come on, all of our first stories were lousy. Maybe he sent in the same 10 early stories to 60 places.)
John Creasy – 774 rejections before selling his first story. He went on to write 564 books, using fourteen names. (Back up a moment here. 564 books? You mean kind of like Clive Cussler or James Michener? James Michener had a known staff, and there is a group on Facebook that does NOT believe Cussler has time to write all those books—himself—especially as [see Facebook again] he apparently runs around as a celebrity judge to decide winners at cooking contests.)
Jerzy Kosinski – 13 agents and 14 publishers rejected his best-selling novel when he submitted it under a different name, including Random House, which had originally published it. (I think this is the funniest one. Reminds me of another writer who sent in a novel by Jane Austen, to see what would happen. It was rejected. Only one editor even recognized the material.)
Stephen King’s first four novels were rejected. This guy from Maine sent in this novel over the transom, said Bill Thompson, his former editor at Doubleday. Mr. Thompson, sensing something there, asked to see subsequent novels, but still rejected the next three. However, King withstood the rejection, and Mr. Thompson finally bought the fifth novel, despite his colleague’s lack of enthusiasm, for $2,500. It was called Carrie.
(Speaking of Carrie, according to another source, King’s wife fished it out of the trash can, where Stephen had dumped it in frustration. She thought it was good.)
During his entire lifetime, Herman Melville’s timeless classic, Moby Dick, sold only 3,715 copies.
(Many thanks to www.simonteakettle.com.)