On Being Rejected (and on rudeness, in general)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My friend Reiko, knowing that I had lately received what can only be described as the rudest rejection letter ever (a rejection apparently based not on my work but on this editor's estimation of my career), sent along a link entitled "30 famous authors whose works were rejected (repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers."

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not famous (which was this recent editor's accusation against me). But I do take solace (and shouldn't we all?) from reviewing again (for we've reviewed them in the past) these bits and pieces from the annals of whoops.

"We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell."

— from one of many publishers rejecting Stephen King's Carrie

"It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA."

—from the editor dismissing George Orwell's Animal Farm

"There certainly isn't enough genuine talent for us to take notice."

— a publisher assessing the poetry of Sylvia Plath

And my personal favorite:

"I'm sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language."

— a San Francisco Examiner editor rejecting a Kipling short story

Everyone, of course, has his or her right to his or her opinion, and editors can only buy those books with which they are in love. I'm simply not altogether convinced that cruelty need enter the scene.


Beth F said...

It just doesn't take that much effort to temper one's honesty with a bit of kindness. I hope you can keep a good perspective on this.

Julie P. said...

I agree with you. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion (and not everyone is going to love every books) BUT....

there is never any reason to be cruel, mean or rude when telling someone that! You have to wonder if those people aren't just miserable themselves!

bermudaonion said...

I totally agree - it's fine to say no, but there's no reason to be rude about it.

Inkgirl said...

I love these. And I do believe that everyone's work can be loved by someone, really; everypne's work is great in its own way.

Indigo said...

I bookmarked the list. It does give one hope. I loved the Tony Hillman one, "Get rid of all that Indian stuff." I laughed out loud over that. Mimics my own recent adventures.

I do agree, there is no reason for rude, acetic sentiments on a submitted book. If they don't like it a simple 'no' would suffice. (Hugs)Indigo

Solvang Sherrie said...

Rejection letters always sting. But how awful to be insulted as well. I'm so sorry that happened to you. At least you're in good company!

Amy said...

I think especially in the position of editor one should be kind! We humans already carry around so much rejection baggage.

You are famous to me!

cuileann said...

Oh well, you are loved by cooler people.

Lilian Nattel said...

Thanks for these, Beth. I agree that cruelty doesn't ever need to come into the picture and I'm very sorry that you were the target of it. Those rejections are encouraging. I'll add to those that Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geissel) was rejected 27 times before his first book was published.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Proof that the publishing industry really doesn't know what sells - and that what appeals to one person doesn't appeal to the next.

For the ultimate in rude rejection letters, visit the "Read 'Em and Weep" website!

Mandy said...

You are right, it never pays to be unkind. Keep trying though - even JK Rowling was rejected several times before Harry Potter found a home!

Maya Ganesan said...

So sorry about the rejection. Look on the bright side, though - it's the editor's loss, not yours.

Keep trying; your novel will find a home. That editor's being absolutely ridiculous.

The Empress said...

This sounds like a great friend. What a treasure.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP