- On a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990, Rowling wrote her initial Potter ideas on a napkin. She typed her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on a typewriter, often choosing to write in Edinburgh cafés, accompanied by baby daughter Jessica, now 19, named after Jessica Mitford, a heroine of Rowling’s youth. ~ J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series and other novels.
- In the end, I received 60 rejections for The Help. But letter number 61 was the one that accepted me. After my five years of writing and three and a half years of rejection, an agent named Susan Ramer took pity on me. What if I had given up at 15? Or 40? Or even 60? Three weeks later, Susan sold The Help to Amy Einhorn Books. ~ Kathryn Stockett, author of ‘The Help’.
- After she wrote Still Alice and was ready to get it into the market, Lisa spent a year trying to get literary agents and editors at publishing houses to speak with her. The editors all treated her as yet another aspiring writer not worth their time, and the few literary agents she managed to reach thought her novel wouldn’t sell. ~ Lisa Genova, author of ‘Still Alice’.
- The situation was improbable. Just one year prior, Weir, a computer programmer by trade, had given up hope of becoming a professional writer after failing to get a single agent or publisher excited about his work. But then he posted The Martian online, and it generated such buzz that now here he was, signing mid-six-figure deals with both Crown Publishing and Twentieth Century Fox. His self-publishing success story—well-paid tech nerd becomes really well paid novelist—made him the envy of every would-be author who ever fantasized about ditching his day job. Even critics were on board. (“Brilliant. A celebration of human ingenuity and the purest example of real sci-fi for many years,” said The Wall Street Journal.) ~ Andy Weir, author of ‘The Martian’.
- He pitched the book and was rejected 27 times before a chance encounter with a friend who had just landed an editing job. Geisel told his friend about his book, about the rejection, and told him he was fed up and about to destroy the book. The friend read it and Dr. Seuss was born. ~Theodore Geisel, author of ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and other books.
It’s just something to think about. You, and your good taste and writing skills, may be unknown and yet still be a brilliant writer and yet still be unpublished and unknown.
And you, along with the editors, publishers, agents, family members and critique group who rejected you, might all be right. You don’t ‘deserve’ publication. And you do.
If you go into Amazon and read some novels, you’ll discover scathing reviews of great classics and best-sellers. And there are books like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, which I didn’t like, that began as fan fiction published on a website and ended up as a best seller and movie.
You can’t predict what will happen so invest that energy elsewhere. Write like crazy. Plan and write. Revise and edit. Establish a process or system and keep trying, keep trying, keep trying. Write because you enjoy writing. Write a book in a month in November. Do what it takes. Believe in yourself. Keep believing.
And keep trying.