“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
― Thomas A. Edison
Have you ever considered giving up? Good news, you are not alone.
I’m going to give you a few example of others who almost pitched in the towel and left the writing to others. . . almost. Thank goodness, they didn’t give up.
Most recent, during an interview with Writers Digest, author Joe Hill (The Heart Shaped Box, Horns, NOS4A2, and the short story collection 20th Century Ghosts) talked about his journey toward publication. He didn’t tell his agent who he was because he wanted his writing to stand on its own merit. In other words, he didn’t want anyone to publish his novel because he was Stephen King’s son.
The list is long and varied. Mystery author Agatha Christie collected 500 rejections in four short years.
The quality of the message associated with rejection is also often disheartening and horrific. Here’s a paraphrase of a rejection received by author Zane Grey, “you have no business being a writer and should give up.”
Sometimes the ability to choose the correct or enthusiastic publisher or agent eludes us, but the person who believes in our work as much as we do is out there.
The authors of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” were informed that anthologies don’t sell. Can you believe that? Thank goodness they didn’t.
C.S.Lewis collected 800 rejections for “The Chronicles of Narnia”, and Margaret Mitchell received 38 rejections for “Gone with the Wind”.
Author Paul Coelho sees a limited 800 copies of “The Alchemist” sell, but with a new publisher, the number climbs to 75 million in print.
Fourteen agencies reject Stephanie Meyers “Twilight” which went on to spend 91 weeks on the NYT.
Frank Baum, told his works was “too radical a departure from juvenile literature”, finally sells “The Wonderful Wizard of OZ”.
Louisa May Alcott was told by a publisher, “you should stick to teaching” which, thankfully she did not, and is still in print 140 years later.
Even the esteemed Beatrix Potter, the beloved author of “Tales of Peter Rabbit” was rejected so often she chose to self publish. From its original 250 copies to 45 million.
The Christopher Little Literary Agency collects twelve rejections for author J.K.Rowlings’ “Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone”, until the eight-year-old daughter of a Bloomsbury editor insists on being allowed to finish reading the manuscript. This led the way for this series of books, which now has 450 million books in print.
The message here is clear. Rejection is a part of the writing life. We all experience it in different ways, at different levels, and with or without rancor. But persistence is the key to success. The willingness and the ability to come back and try just one more time can be the difference between life an author, and life wishing you had finished the last book.
First, you must finish what you start, and you must follow the process of editing, submitting, and awaiting the ever-daunting rejections that we all experience. Then you need to start over again when your book either sells or is accepted and you need to write a follow up book. Your second effort may or may not be easier, but you will have to apply the Butt Glue routinely in order to enjoy the life of an author.
So ask any published author you know, they‘ll tell Butt Glue is an author’s best friend.
Ane Ryan Walker
Born and raised in suburban Philadelphia, Ane started writing at four years of age. Disappointed by the brevity of the daily comic strips, she extended the comics from Daddys’ daily newspaper. Clearly her first job was editing.
To the delight of her parents Ane was a natural born storyteller. When she began telling tall tales to cover the hours she spent after school detained by hostile nuns who did not appreciate her incredible adventures, they were forced to restrict her creativity.
Years later, Ane once again took up her writing and began recording adventures for posterity.
You can find out more about Ane Ryan Walker at her website: HerStoryCalled.com
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